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Soul searching holidays on the rise

The cliché of young travellers going off into the world to ‘find themselves’ is catching on with older generations, as research finds the demand for spiritual tourism is growing.

Travel agents in Bali claim to have seen increasing demand from foreign tourists in search of spiritual holiday packages, commonly involving yoga and meditation. Bali is fast becoming a hot spot for soul-searching holidaymakers as itinerary requests for holiday packages now often feature activities that would typically be associated with spiritual enlightenment.

“Most of the groups are from Australia, the US, Japan and Europe. They usually regularly do activities like yoga or meditation,” said Bagus Sudibya, deputy chairman of the Association of Indonesian Tour and Travel Agencies in Bali (ASITA Bali). “This shows that spiritual tourism has potential to be developed in Bali, and most importantly, it could contribute to improving conditions in Bali as this kind of tourism is more qualified than mass tourism.”

The ASITA estimates that 10% of travel agents organise spiritual tourism packages, with 5% of all incoming foreign tourists enjoying these packages. Mr Sudibya claims that some travel agents have seen an increase of three or four groups a month looking to connect with their spiritual side. The groups are between ten and 15 people and are increasing all the time.

Pitana Brahmananda, of the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministery, said: “Spiritual tourism in Bali has a combination of cultural and religious aspects. It has been running well so far. “Tourists coming to Bali for spiritual activities bring greater positive impact to the island. They search for inner peace that they find in Bali’s ambiance. They are usually more educated and more friendly to the environment, thus contributing to better and more sustainable tourism.”

Whether you’re searching for inner peace or just a beach, it is always a good idea to take travel insurance with you.

Date Created: 31 July 2012

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