1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Religion being a universal entity has been discussed by several scholars including J.S Mill, Emile Durkheim and E.B Idowu. It is as old as man, dates back to about 2000 years ago. Both religion and tourism cannot exist without humans, this stands to mean that both religion and tourism are practiced by humans. It has been discovered from a study that in other to understand and relate well with man, one has to have knowledge of his religion; reason being that it is the pivot with which other aspects of his life revolves. Due to some practices and acts attached to religion, most especially African religion, the wave of westernization seems to be blowing it into extinction ( Awolalu & Dopamu, 2005: 278). The coming of the whites alongside the introduction of their own religion (Christianity) has contributed to the death and epileptic state of our African customs, beliefs and values. Africans have been brain washed that we do not attach respect, interest, and value to our African religion any more Awolalu & Dopamu, 2005: 284). African religion is characterized with a lot of challenges. A good example is a case where priesthood is hereditary and when it gets to a person’s turn, it is discovered that the person has left to further his education. Irrespective of the challenges tied to religion, it still remains a viable tool in achieving sustainable development. It is also pertinent to state that religion has a great effect on tourism. Religion has influenced the tourism sector tremendously, even as some religious sites have over the years helped in promoting tourism.
Tourism of late has been revealed to be one of the fastest growing sectors of an economy. An analysis by Mani (2003), revealed an annual growth rate of 4% by the tourist sector of countries like UK, Italy, Spain, USA; including some African countries like Tunisia, morocco, Egypt, Kenya and South Africa. He added that there is an increase in the tourism sector due to increase in tourists arrivals.