1.1 Key Objectives
The aim of the report is to study dark tourism and discuss what are the issues generated by the evolution of this phenomenon.
The report includes a definition of dark tourism, the history, a description of its target markets with its marketing implications, the push and pull factors and the various impacts caused and the challenges faced. Lastly, conclusions will be drawn.
2.0 Main Discussions
Dark tourism is demarcated as encompassing the visitation to any site allied with death, disaster and tragedy for commemoration, education or entertainment (Webber, 2007).
Dark tourism is not considered a new phenomenon as it can be referred back to the twelfth century (McCormick, 2004). 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 (Stone, 2006).
2.3 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.
2.4 Trends of Dark Tourism
The main reason for visiting dark sites is because of the tourists' interest in the elements to witness executions and learn about the death of famous people and others, the demise and fall of empires, torment and suffering of sites from wars or gruesome murders. Tourists also visit the sites sometimes to feel the power of faith, with the inspiration that they can get hope from these deaths (Tarlow, 2005).
2.5 Push and Pull Factors
2.5.1 Push Factors
Some tourists prefer more daring, exciting and adventure while others with self development needs may look forward to learning about history behind the events that has happened, widening and exploring more parts of the world. Curiosity and novelty has enticed many tourists to visit dark sites. Also, some tourists travel to these sites to commemorate their family members.
2.5.2 Pull Factors
Sites with historical and grim events such as the United States of America where the Pearl Harbor took place have enticed many visits from the tourists. The media has played a role in promoting the sites to the public. Movies were based on sites such the Cullen house in the movie Twilight has an upsurge in tourist visitation.
2.6 Market Segments
Four tourist classifications were identified and are as follows; the organized mass tourist, the individual mass tourist, the explorer and the drifter (Cohen, 2004). The generic and niche markets are two distinct types of tourists are who visit dark tourism sites. The niche market segments usually have a particular interest in exploring the conflict and are mostly young people who are individual travellers, part of a university group with an education interest and tourists with a need for self-development (Pearce, 2005).
2.7 Marketing Implications
Dark tourism sites’ marketing managers need to understand the nature of the dark tourism product and not promote dark tourism wrongly having reflective implications for society at large (Stone, 2005). Many tourists visiting dark sites have education as their key motivator. These sites can focus on its teaching aspects such as offering and promoting additional services such as lectures, seminars, or workshops can enhance the tourist’s experience on site. These sites can also de-market themselves to make it unattractive to cut down on the damage caused to the site.
2.8 Impacts of Dark Tourism
2.8.1 Economic Impact
Tourism can help bring in revenue to improve a country's economic growth through employment and opportunities (Simpson,...