Pilgrimage market from Poland – will vaccinations and LOT bring a new boost?

Stacja V Drogi Krzyżowej w Jerozolimie

Pilgrimage movement – vaccinations and LOT – flights to Cancun? Mostar? return to rome? will they give a new boost?

Pilgrimage market has evaporated

The current results of the sale of airline tickets leave no doubt as the pilgrimage segment has largely ceased to exist. The statistics do not include the directions typical for this market, such as Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Rome or Beirut.

Foreign pilgrimages are waiting for better times. The closure of Israel and problems in other traditional pilgrimage countries (Portugal, Italy) have limited international travel opportunities. In fact, only the option of traveling around Poland remained.

Seniors (and Israel) will be vaccinated first or return to pilgrimage

Hope for pilgrimage agents is the fact of priority vaccination for the category of people 65 plus, they constitute a group of pilgrims. The ambitious vaccination project in Israel itself also gives a hint of optimism. The country is counting on herd immunity before summer vacation. It is known that the Holy Land is a key pilgrimage destination.

Pandemic and crisis of faith – whether the new Marian cult will support the market

The pandemic and the current crisis in the Catholic Church put the pilgrimage market in an interesting position. On the one hand, it could be said that its potential will continue to decline. Mainly as a result of a massive cooling of faith and departure from the church.

Paradoxically, however, the pandemic may have a positive impulse for this market. It provokes reflection on the fragility of life and the “materialistic” plans of every human being. This may lead to a Renaissance pilgrimage in the long run.

A keen observer of the market may also bet on reviving the Marian cult in Poland. An example is the books of Fr Glas and other new-trend preachers like him. Marian sanctuaries in Medjugorje, Lourdes, Fatima and even the Japanese Akita  will certainly benefit from this.

Recognition of the apparitions in Medjugorje and the popularity of the “humble” saints (Charbel) can help

The impetus for the massive increase in the pilgrimage movement would certainly be the official recognition of the miracles in Medjugorje. Even without this, the church’s position on the matter has evolved in a very favorable direction. The Pope has officially authorized pilgrimages to this place.

The cult of the “humble” saints, especially Saint Charbel of Lebanon or Blessed Faustina, will certainly help. Sites associated with them are in no way mass/commercial in nature, this helps with a “new opening”.

The particularly growing popularity of the Lebanese saint causes many travel agencies to include pilgrimages to Lebanon in their catalogs before the Pandemic. Popularity of this destination can also be seen in the interest in the cult of this saint in the church in Krakow which has his relics.

The pilgrimage market can effectively complement LOT’s tourist offer

LOT is currently working on a winter “tourist” offer, you should expect quality novelties. Cancun, Mexico, may come as a surprise. Mexico has undoubted potential for pilgrimage, in this case the demand from specialized agencies for direct flights could be really significant.

It is no secret that LOT has also been thinking about returning to Rome for years. It is a difficult direction mastered by low cost lines. Perhaps, however, thanks to Alitalia’s problems, there will soon be an additional incentive to launch this connection.

You can even imagine an attempt to fly on the line Warsaw- Mostar (Medjugorje) – Rome and vv. Such a combination would be ideal for the pilgrimage movement and it would certainly be a treat for customers looking for a classic tourist offer. Both Bosnia with the pearl that is Mostar and Rome would sell “tourist” without any problems.

Turkey is also a country with pilgrimage potential, the offer to Antalya could be attractive in many respects. Already before the pandemic, this direction was planned to be strongly promoted by some pilgrimage offices, including Junior / Superpielgrzymki.pl.

The strong restrictions on the group offer announced by Wizz Air also benefit LOT. Hungarian airlines may be working towards cooperation only with the largest tour operators (including pilgrimage) guaranteeing thousands of seats.

The pilgrimage as an outpost of revival? Will destinations support this trend by marketing?

It is worth observing the trends on the pilgrimage tourism market in Poland. It can be a kind of benchmark for other segments. Certainly, a large part of countries/pilgrimage destinations will prepare special programs encouraging to travel. Apart from the natural leader Israel, you can count on the activity of Jordan, Portugal or Georgia / Armenia. Bosnia should also wake up. The example of a regular flight from Cracow to Lourdes works perfectly, showing the massive potential of the polish pilgrimage market.