Motivation for pilgrimage: using theory to explore motivations


  • Ruth Blackwell Leeds Metropolitan University


Pilgrims and pilgrimages, Motivation (Psychology), Consumption (Economics), Contentment, Tourist trade, Marketing, Implicit religion, Sacred space, Basic needs, Self-actualization


This article is a discussion of the motivations for pilgrimage and it will draw upon theories of motivation to explore the continuing attraction of pilgrimage in contemporary times. This discussion is located within the field of Event Management. Event Management is a fast growing discipline which focuses on the design, production and management of planned events, such as festivals, celebrations, conferences, fund-raisers and so on. Clearly pilgrimages, as planned events, fit into this definition. In this context, it is essential to recognise the importance of understanding the motives and needs of event customers so that we can plan to help our customers satisfy their motives. Whilst it might seem abhorrent and commercial to talk of pilgrims as customers, pilgrimages and religious sites have become more and more commodified and increasingly are deemed to need professional management. Key theories of motivation will be compared in order to identify the prime motivating factors underpinning people’s decisions to make pilgrimages.



How to Cite

Blackwell, R. (2010). Motivation for pilgrimage: using theory to explore motivations. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 22, 24–37.