The World Religious Travel Association filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado on Jan. 7, Travel Pulse has learned. WRTA was founded in November 2006, by Kevin J. Wright, an author of books on religious tourism, and the founder in 2004 of the religious travel division of Globus.
WRTA’s mission was to shine a spotlight on the religious travel market, make the travel industry aware of a large and powerful market that was not clearly recognized, and help provide a focal point through which the market could grow. Wright told Travel Pulse that he believes the association did succeed in establishing faith-based tourism as a key pillar of the travel industry.
Incorporated in November 2006, WRTA established itself as a recognized voice for the 300 million-traveler-a-year religious tourism and hospitality market. WRTA hosted three World Religious Travel Expos attracting organizations and professionals from more than 30 countries on six continents. The association’s members and partners included travel agents, tour operators, travel wholesalers, ground/incoming operators, cruise lines, destinations, suppliers, trade associations, religious organizations, and group planners.
WRTA held business and educational seminars in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Jordan, Turkey, Armenia and Dubai, and was covered in the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, National Public Radio (NPR), Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Forbes Traveler and the Boston Globe.
Unfortunately, according to Wright, maintaining the organization with its staff proved to be “an expensive proposition” and though the association was galloping ahead at full speed with initiatives, including its conference in Montreal, and Wright speaking at the Faith Tourism Summit in Turkey in November 2010, by January funds had run out.
As author of several books on religious tourism and having devoted himself to promoting it for the past several years, Wright will continue to work with the faith-based travel market. He has been in talks with some tour operators and some associations who are interested in working with him.