Dark Tourism

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Dark Tourism

Dark Tourism


The term 'dark tourism' was first coined by Foley and Lennon (2008, 198), subsequently evolving the name of a publication that, arguably, remains the most broadly cited study of the occurrence. Their work was not although the first to focus upon the relationship between tourism and death, if brutal, untimely or otherwise. Dark tourism is demarcated as encompassing the visitation to any site allied with death, disaster and tragedy for commemoration, education or entertainment. Dark tourism is not considered a new phenomenon as it can be referred back to the twelfth century (Alberini, 2006, 304). As far as the Dark ages, pilgrims have started travelling to tombs. The increase in media has allowed events to be reported and repeated. With the increased improvements in technology, tourists and people can have an insight and be introduced to dark tourism. Types of Dark Tourism

Dark tourism is the act of travel and visitation to the sites, attractions and exhibitions which have real or recreated death, suffering or disaster in general. Many tourists have flocked to experience sites of past terror that offer grim and disturbing tragedies. However, dark tourism has become so broad that there are many sub-classifications to categorize it.

Grief Tourism

You might be surprised to learn there's an entire website dedicated to grief tourism. I sure was. But when you get into the detail, grief tourism is a kind of sightseeing that many of us have been doing naturally for years. Basically, you can define grief tourism as being when you travel somewhere to visit a scene of some tragic event (Cuccia, 2007, 271). The most common examples of grief tourism are war-related, like visiting the concentration camps and battle sites, seeing cemeteries, and tourists coming to see where tragic crimes or events happened, for example in Soham, England, when floods of tourists visited the small village where two young schoolgirls were murdered. And perhaps the ultimate example of grief tourism is the wave of visitors to Ground Zero in New York after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Disaster Tourism

Some might say disaster tourism is a subset of grief tourism, but it deserves its own category after getting so much attention of late. An onslaught of visitors following some kind of natural disaster, such as those visiting south-east Asia following the 2004 tsunami crisis, or people traveling to New Orleans to see the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, are both examples of disaster tourism (Ginsburgh, 2006, 122). It's a shade more controversial than grief tourism.

Poverty Tourism

It's a natural human trait to be interested in how the other half live. That's why we line up in droves to trundle through exquisite royal palaces or mansions belonging to the rich. But some are more interested in how the other, other half live: the very poor (Kolar, 2007, 256). Poverty tourism usually features tours to slum areas and poverty stricken towns. Some claim to help these poor by using profits from the tours to improve their lot, but this seems counter-productive ...
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