Customer classification is an integral part of marketing planning activities. Researchers have struggled to classify “pilgrims” and “tourists” because these groups overlap to a large extent in terms of their identities while participating in religious activities/sightseeing. To achieve sustainable tourism development for the region with rich religious and cultural characteristics, the present article outlines a process for analyzing the motivation of participants attending religious festival of Mazu in Taiwan and then classifies religious festival participants according to their motivations. Using cluster sampling, a total of 280 responses were obtained and analyzed. The results revealed four different motivation categories: Fun traveler, devout believer, cultural enthusiast, and religious pragmatist. The study concludes that while festivalgoers are influenced by secularization to some extent, the original doctrine of the religion epitomized in the festivals fundamentally retains the essence and spirit of its religious rituals. The findings may have a significant value for the development of religious tourism marketing as it offers a foundation for future research seeking to develop regional cultural and religious sightseeing attractions sustainably.
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