Effects of religious tourism on the social economic livelihood of the host communities in Uganda: Case study - Namugongo Martyrs Shrine
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This study was carried out to assess the contribution of religious tourism on the social economic livelihood of the host communities in Uganda. the objectives that guided the study were: to profile religious activities at Namugongo Martyrs Shrine, to examine how these activities have benefited socially and economically to local people and lastly to examine the challenges limiting promotion of religious tourism at the shrine. A sample size of 65 respondents was obtained and included 60 local community members and 5 leaders at the shrine who were selected by use of both simple random and purposive sampling techniques. The data was collected using questionnaires and focus group discussions. And data was analyzed quantitatively using SPSS and qualitatively using thematic analysis. . Data analysed revealed that there are different religious activities taking place at Namugongo Martyrs shrine includes touring the Basilicas at the shrine, collecting holly water from the from the shrines lake participating in different events such as prayers, baptism, healing and confession, listening to stories, visiting the museum and buying and sale of religious crafts among others. The findings revealed that such religious tourism activities can be developed through expansion of the shrine, sentization of the people about the importance of religious tourism, more effort in promotion and marketing of the area, training of more guides and building of more infrastructure facilities including hotels. Field findings further reveal that tourism religious activity have contributed both socially and economically to the local people through creation of income, providing employment opportunities to local people, stimulation of investment opportunities, increased market for local products and increase in the level of income of the local people as the all of which have improved peoples livelihood.The benefits in form of jobs especially at the shrine should be enhanced to the local community. The results revealed that there challenges facing the promotion of religious activities which were identified as limited capital, lack of sensitization about religious tourism a challenge of limited space to accommodate and lastly seasonality of the pilgrims. And thus the study recommends that more land should be got from the surrounding areas for further expansion of the shrine and the government should invest more money in developing of the shrine since it contributes much to the economy.