Religious freedom enhanced by tourism
Countries that are very religious ensure that tourists do not do anything contrary to their beliefs and they do so while ensuring that practices of the other religions are not observed in their country. This is common in Islamic countries where carrying of Bibles used to be illegal. In China, entering the country with a Bible or Christian literature until recently was illegal.
Gradually, the world is enjoying religious freedom, thanks to tourism. Tourism has been the major source of revenue for most countries today and every country is doing what it can to win as many tourists as possible. In an attempt to ensure that people from all religions are able to visit and contribute to the country’s economic development, laws that used to prevent others from visiting have all been revised to accommodate all persons irrespective of their religious background.
It used to be illegal to carry a Bible into Maldives but as it has come to be one of the world’s favorite tourist destination, this Asian country now allows a Bible per person. As an Evangelist, it would have been difficult entering Maldives but with the revision of their laws, their authorities were rather much interested in the amount of money I was bringing to their country than my religion.
Today, China is not bothered by the number of Bibles or Christian literature that one carries into the country. The government has now allowed churches to operate under special licensing.
Islam frowns so much on alcohol but today, Emirates Airlines serve the best wines and whiskies on board and drinking alcohol in the United Arab Emirates isn’t illegal as well. With Dubai’s hot temperatures, most tourists go contrary to the Islamic way of dressing. Even laws such as public display of affection that could have led to prosecution are all overlooked.
Gone are the days where people of a particular religion were scared entering places of worship of the others. Mosques, temples and churches themselves are all today serving as tourist attractions. Religious tourism is on the rise as tourists want to know the rich histories behind certain practices, structures and beliefs of other religions.
I have been privileged to have encountered Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists on my trips and they shared with me some of their beliefs and what they have in common with Christianity. Gradually, conflicts arising from religious differences would soon be a thing of the past as tourism has made it possible for everyone to learn about the other religions.