Critical Interpretation Of A Tourist Place,Product Or Experience

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Critical interpretation of a tourist place,product or experience

Dark tourism, using ground zero


It's been two years since Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Slowly but surely, tourists are returning.

Coupled with the city's old bag of tricks is a new draw card: the chance to glimpse New Orleans' destruction firsthand.

But New Orleans isn't the only place where suffering has turned into a tourist attraction. In New York, Ground Zero is the iconic memorial to the September 11 attacks. (Netanyahu, 2002)

The term ground zero (sometimes also known as surface zero as distinguished from zero point) may be used to describe the point on the earth's surface where an explosion occurs. In the case of an explosion above the ground, ground zero refers to the point on the ground directly below an explosion (see hypocenter).

The term has often been associated with nuclear explosions and other large bombs, but is also used in relation to earthquakes, epidemics and other disasters to mark the point of the most severe damage or destruction. The term is often re-used for disasters that have a geographic or conceptual epicenter. The origins of the term "ground zero" began with the Manhattan Project and the bombing of Japan. The Oxford English Dictionary, citing the use of the term in a 1946 New York Times report on the destroyed city of Hiroshima, defines "ground zero" as "that part of the ground situated immediately under an exploding bomb, especially an atomic one." (Hartmann, 2003, pp152)

The term was military slang—used at the Trinity site where the weapon tower for the first nuclear weapon was at "point zero"—and moved into general use very shortly after the end of World War II.

The Pentagon, the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense in Arlington, Virginia was thought of as the most likely target of a nuclear missile strike during the Cold War. The open space in the center is informally known as ground zero, and a snack bar located at the center of this plaza is named the "Ground Zero Cafe."

Outside the United States, places like Auschwitz and Cambodia's killing fields have been drawing tourists for decades. The practice of visiting sites related to death and suffering is known as “Dark Tourism.” Dark tourism is not a new phenomenon. Scholars see parallels in such historical activities as gladiatorial contests in Ancient Rome, public executions in the Middle Ages, and guided tours of morgues in Victorian England. Today, dark tourism still presents a few hard questions for ethical travelers. Is it right to turn other people's death or misery into a spectacle? Why are humans even attracted to morbid places?

Like any tourist attraction, “dark sites” can turn a handsome dollar for those shrewd enough to capitalize on the site's popularity.

But does the commercialization of dark sites necessarily mean that we travelers should avoid visiting them? Not quite.

Often, the countries or cities featuring dark attractions are in great need of tourist ...
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