Religion and tourism: funded research

"Place of prayer": international comprehensibility of the rules of con
"Place of prayer": international comprehensibility of the rules of conduct by means of pictograms. Information board at Müstair Monastery. (Image: Anna-Lena Jahn)
How do tourists from non-Christian contexts perceive spaces and places with Christian content? Anna-Lena Jahn is investigating this question as part of her dissertation.

In recent years, there has been an increase in offers that combine the seemingly contradictory concepts of "religion" and "tourism". For many tourists, visits to churches are part of the standard tourist program: More and more people are embarking on old and new pilgrimage routes, and tourist offers that also attempt to answer spiritual questions are booming. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism can contribute to mutual understanding between people and societies. Despite these formulated principles, the phenomena of interculturality and interreligiosity in tourism have been little researched.

Anna-Lena Jahn would like to close this research gap with her dissertation project. This is being supervised by Christian Preidel, Professor of Pastoral Theology at the University of Lucerne, and is part of the overarching project "Religion - Culture - Tourism" under the direction of Christian Cebulj, Professor of Religious Education and Catechetics at the Theological University of Chur. This will also enable Jahn to complete her doctoral thesis, which she has already started, within a partially funded framework. She is a graduate of the inter-university Master’s degree program "Religion - Economics - Politics", which is coordinated from Lucerne.


As part of her qualitative study, Anna-Lena Jahn takes the Benedictine convent of St. Johann in Müstair as an example. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the monastery in the canton of Graubünden on the border with South Tyrol attracts visitors from near and far. Against this backdrop, Jahn is researching how tourists from non-Christian contexts perceive spaces and places with Christian content. The focus is on the one hand on international tourists, for example from Asia, and on the other hand on those who live in a Christian country but do not consider themselves to belong to the Christian religion. Anna-Lena Jahn works with the analysis of her own, systematically gathered impressions on site, interviews with tourists and photos uploaded to Instagram showing St. Johann Monastery. Another aim is to work out what new understanding of interreligious and intercultural encounters is possible in tourism.

Website area "Religion - Culture - Tourism" (TH Chur)