Paraguay is the guest destination of the Religious Tourism Workshops in Fátima

Paraguay will be the guest tourist destination at the 11th International Workshops on Religious Tourism (IWRT), which will take place in Fátima, Ourém, on 22 and 23 February.

The Paraguayan delegation will be led by the South American country’s Minister of Tourism, Angelita Duarte de Melillo, the organisation announced.

With its presence in Fátima, in the district of Santarém, the Tourism Products department of Paraguay’s National Tourism Secretariat aims to position the country “as a destination for religious tourism at international level, to publicise authentic experiences (…) and to contact tour operators so that they can get to know and market” the destination.

Quoted in the press release, the head of the visiting organisation, Javier Ramírez, said that the IWRTs are “the ideal place to present a new destination like Paraguay, where all the specialised trade will be present and where you can make the most of being a guest destination” in 2024.

The XI IWRT, which this year will host for the first time the XX International Congress of Religious Tourism (CITRyS), an event born in South America, is seen by Paraguay as a “unique opportunity to establish new commercial relationships for this niche market”.

The organisation of the XI IWRT also expresses its “satisfaction at the welcome given to Paraguay” at this year’s edition.

“We are looking forward to the participation and presence of Paraguay as a guest destination, a country that is characterised by its natural and cultural wealth and, as far as we can see, is also a privileged destination from the point of view of religious and pilgrimage tourism,” said the president of the Ourém Fátima Business Association (ACISO), Purificação Reis.

The meeting’s communications secretariat stressed that the neighbouring country of Argentina and Brazil is a “land rich in history, ancestral customs, popular religiosity and exuberant nature”.

“Paraguay has opened its doors to religious tourism with tourist products such as the Jesuit Route, the Franciscan Way, the Marian Circuit and the Guairá Faith Circuit, which it combines with the best of its gastronomy, culture and natural surroundings,” he added.

The XI IWRT is organised by the Ourém-Fátima Business Association, Ourém Town Council and Guarda Town Council, with the support of Turismo de Portugal, Turismo do Centro de Portugal, Visit Center of Portugal, Associação de Turismo do Porto e Norte, Porto Convention & Visitors Bureau, Agência Regional de Promoção Turística do Alentejo – Turismo do Alentejo, Associação de Turismo de Lisboa – Visit Lisboa and Programa Operacional Regional do Centro.

Tour operators, travel agents and hoteliers, among other businesspeople in the sector who are particularly dedicated to religious tourism, can sign up for the commercial area of the initiative, namely for the pre-scheduled meetings within the framework of the contacts exchange.

For the opening session and conference of the XI IWRT and the XX CITRyS, the invitation to participate, which is free of charge, extends from tour operators and entrepreneurs to students and researchers, as well as others interested in the proposed themes.

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LUSA | 03 Jan 2024