Where the Earth is exceptionally alive with energy has drawn the attention of visitors. These visitors believe that the vortex energy will enhance spiritual and physical health by way of a visit. This study examined this under-explored niche tourism sector by focusing on developing a visitors’ profile and the alignment of this niche market to sustainable tourism management. To study this form of spiritual tourism, research was conducted in a famous vortex tourist destination in the southwest U.S. using a mixed methods approach. The methods included: an online business survey, an on-site visitor survey, a mail-back resident survey, and social media analysis. The business survey results show that vortex businesses are among the top businesses in the destination. The visitor survey results show that vortex visitors have some characteristics similar to the general visitors to the destination (age, group size) and some characteristics that distinguish them from other visitors (gender, trip length). Vortex visitors’ attitudes align closely with sustainable tourism principles. The resident survey results show a lower preference for vortex tourism in the community over other types of tourism. Finally, social media analysis shows that public opinions for vortex tourism in the community studied are mixed and range from beliefs in and disbeliefs about the vortex energy. The multi-method approach provides a more robust and complex profile of this type of spiritual tourism. The findings of this research are useful for destination management, particularly a sustainability approach, and can provide guidance for other vortex destinations and more broadly tourism for spiritual reasons.
Keywords: Vortex Tourism, New Age, Sustainable Tourism, Sedona, Southwest U.S.