According to Globus' religious travel study (conducted by Menlo Consulting Group), 4.5 million people have traveled internationally on a religious or faith-based vacation. That number is expected to increase exponentially by the end of this year when an additional 9.7 million people will have traveled internationally on religious journeys.
One possible growth explanation, according to Mike Schields, director of group sales and emerging markets for the Globus family of brands, is that 2010 marks the anniversary of Oberammergau's Passion Play, a 400-year-old tradition that draws hundreds of thousands of people every 10 years. In fact, Globus reports that, thanks to the Passion Play, bookings on European itineraries with Oberammergau extensions are up 1350 percent for 2010 and the company’s Cosmos Oberammergau vacations have sold out.
"Oberammergau's Passion Play is a once-in-a-decade experience; it provides Americans a strong incentive to book a European getaway," said Schields. "And, demand for these vacations is high so we've developed the widest range of travel styles and pricing available for religious and secular getaways in 2010."
As the first and one of the only large tour operators to embrace faith-based vacations, having created a religious division in 2004, Globus is leading the industry in religious travel offerings. In addition to its Oberammergau itineraries, Globus has experienced great traveler excitement around Israel. "We unveiled Journey through the Holy Land this year and in less than 10 months, it's become our most popular getaway," said Schields. "In addition, Grand Catholic Italy and Footsteps of Apostle Paul round out our 'top three faith-based itineraries."