Polish Religious Tourism – 2

The Polish TOs active in the religious tourism market.

In the previous post I presented the latest data of GUS (Polish Central Statistical Office) on religious tourism. This post and the following one will be focused on tour operators and group organizers manging the pilgrimages.

The first question in this regard is obvious: we saw previously that in 2017 the Polish religious tourism generated about a million of trips, but how many companies, always Polish, organize these trips?

There are no official data on this. According to our database, created and updated over 13 years, Polish companies that organize trips of a religious nature (and are not limited to simply reselling the product of third parties) are about 70. Their regional distribution is described below.

                                                       Source: OUTgoing POLAND

Three regions (Mazowieckie, Śląskie, Małopolskie) concentrate 43% of the companies active in this segment of the tourism market. If we consider also Wielkopolskie, we exceed 50% of the national total.

Why do these companies have this specific territorial distribution? If we report on the same graph the percentage distribution of the resident population by region and of the religious tourism companies we obtain the following figure.

                                                              Source: OUTgoing POLAND , GUS

The trends of the two variables are very similar (for those who are a little more familiar with the statistics: the correlation index R2 is 0.93!). How to interpret this result? Probably the concentration process under way in the Polish tour operating sector in this market segment is still not actual.

Personal relationships with local realities, with groups of pilgrims and their leaders are more important than traditional marketing actions and mergers & acquisitions initiatives taking place among generalist TOs. Until this is true, the curve of the regional distribution of the population and the analogue of the TO will continue to be very similar.

I would like to conclude this brief analysis with a graph that put a glance to the next post

                                                                   Source: OUTgoing POLAND

The graph above describes the destinations offered by the TOs of religiuos tourism. As can be seen, only 5% of operators offer only destinations that fall within national borders. Nearly 90% offer European destinations and the traditional Holy Land (which often includes Jordan and Lebanon) and finally 60% have in the catalog pilgrimages to other continents: America, Africa, Asia and even the Far East.

Those, who continue to imagine the demand for pilgrimages as a tourism exclusively for the poor, commit a serious error of underestimation. In the next post we will see why.

Author: Gilberto Zangari

Feel free to report the previous post but please quotes: OUTgoing POLAND, The Polish Outgoing Tourist Workshop