Clustering Visitors to a Religious Place : The Case Of Udupi

Shedbalkar, Rahul and Nigli, Keith S and Kumar , Ajith S L (2012) Clustering Visitors to a Religious Place : The Case Of Udupi. In: Building Bridges Over Tourism Recreation Practices, 7-9 Nov, 2012, Portuga.

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Travellers visiting spiritual destinations are typically influenced by religious inspirations. Though, this might not be the case for all travellers, since tourists to religious places may visit a destination not only for pilgrimage, but as well to please several desires intertwined with social, cultural and recreational aspects. This study tries to explore the drives and events of travellers visiting Udupi, a city known as a religious destination for Hindus, by undertaking a grouping approach. A self-administrated questionnaire was circulated to 250 visitors of Udupi during the month of May 2012. From the outcomes it is evident that even though the city is considered as one of the main religious places for Hindus, tourists are not a similar group. As an alternative, the analytical approach adopted produced three segments, namely the “ethnic tourists”, the “holidaymakers” and the “religious travellers”. Religiously encouraged travel to sacred places is perhaps the oldest and most predominant type of travel in human history. Although some researchers may dispute that “even to this present era, religion is among the most influential of motivators”, the influence of religion on tourist movements is still undeniable and very great. Depending on the degree of their religious belief, people travel to holy places searching for truth, insight, or a sophisticated experience with the divine, to satisfy their mystical or factual needs. Udupi, which is located in the coastal region of Karnataka, India, forms a sacred site for Hindus because of the existing eight devotional shrines in and around Krishna Temple premises and its miraculous healing icon Lord Krishna. The Temple is besieged annually by large numbers of visitors who seek blessing and forgiveness. It is a pilgrimage site that attracts visitors who are either members of spiritual tour groups or consider themselves to be wayfarers. For this reason, although tourism to Udupi has increased, it is still overwhelmed by the pilgrimage of the devotees. In this respect, Udupi differs greatly from other religious places of the country, where the predominant model of tourism is based almost entirely on the attractions of climate and beaches, directly related to mass tourism. Bearing in mind the diversity of the city as far as the type of its visitors is concerned, the current study was undertaken aiming to identify the motivations and activities of tourists visiting Udupi and to classify them in relation to their involvement of a combination of social and demographic factors and trip characteristics, as well as their activities while in the city. The research design and methodology involves inductive inquiry utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. This includes a multiple methodological approach involving secondary data analysis of major national and regional surveys, content analysis, in-depth interviews and a focus group. Respondents were approached head-on at eight different shrines in Udupi as well as the shopping center in and around the shrines. Data analysis was conducted via the Statistical Package (SPSS, version 15.0). The sample was separated into subsections using cluster analysis. The cluster procedure was used since it was more proper for the sample size. To identify modifications in data structure and further identify the profile of the three groups, Cramer’s V and ANOVA tests were conducted. The level of probability for discarding the null hypothesis that the independent and dependent variables were not related was .05 for all tests. Tourism represents an important arena for social and cultural participation. The paper shows that the practices and discourses of tourism authorities and the tourism industry unduly constrain the tourism opportunities and experiences of people in India.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hospitality, Religious Tourism
Subjects: Hotel Management > WGSHA Manipal
Depositing User: WGSHA EPrints Administrator
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2013 04:41
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2013 04:41

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