Tourism Management Issues

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  • Topic: Tourism, Heritage tourism, Yale University
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Discuss the tourism management issues generated by the growth of dark tourism.

The aim of this research is to consider dark tourism and discuss what are the tourism management issues generated by the growth of this phenomenon. To clarify this concept, the report will also include a definition of dark tourism, a brief background of why this type of tourism is continuously increasing, and finally conclusions will be drawn. Keywords: culture management, visitor number management, safeguard, vandalism, conservation Introduction:

Dark tourism has been defined as encompassing the visitation to any site associated with death, disaster and tragedy in the twentieth century for remembrance, education or entertainment. Furthermore Howie (2003) argues that visits to the sites of recent tragedies, as for example the site of the World Trade Center in New York destroyed by terrorist attacks in 2001, raise issues of both genuine compassion and morbid fascination. Urry (1991, taken from Theobald, 1994) also suggests that nostalgia, it would seem, knows no limits, to the virtual extent that the worse the experience the more appealing the attraction. The idea of dark side of tourism has also been identified by Dann and Seaton (2001) as incorporating what they call thanatourism, milking the macabre as a kind that pervades tourism in general. As suggested by McCormick (2004) dark tourism is not a new phenomenon as it can be referred back to the twelfth century when the violent death of the British Canterbury in the town's cathedral attracted many people to the site. Today's sites such as Chernobyl, The World Trade Center, Auschwitz or even sites where famous people were killed such as John F Kennedy are all experiencing an increase in visitor's number (Lennon and Foley, 2004). As an article by the Guardian (2004) suggest, the explosion that in 1986, ripped the roof off Chernobyl's fourth reactor, causing the building's walls to bend and hurling tons of radioactive waste into the air, is today a popular tourist site. For foreigners, Chernobyl is easily added to a long list of tourist attractions whose fame turns on tragedy or disaster, but for those that live in the affected area, it is a different story. As the Ukrainian tourist board's executive director suggested: Chernobyl is not a historical place, it is a sleeping lion, and when a lion is sleeping you do not open the cage. Other historical sites also include that of Auschwitz, a symbol of terror, genocide and the Holocaust. The number of registered visitors to this site are increasing and as the statistics show, the number of visitors of some countries, such as the USA, has doubled from 34404 to 62997 between 2003 and 2004 (Auschwitz, 2004), re-affirming the statement put forward by Lennon and Foley (2004) that dark tourism is on the increase. More recently a destination that has been affected by the terrorist attacks and that has seen an increase in inbound tourism, has been the World Trade Center, or better known as Ground Zero. In 2002, the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York attracted 3.6 million visitors, while the observation deck from the intact towers used to attract an average of 1.8 million tourists per year (McCormick, 2004). It must be noted that there are many more sites that have not been previously mentioned that are worth considering for future research to further understand the spread of dark tourism. Having considered some of the sites that best represent the view of dark tourism, the essay will now briefly look at the reasons behind this form of tourism and an in-depth analysis of the implications on tourism management issues will follow. Foley, Lennon and Maxwell (1997) suggest that many of the deaths and disasters that gave rise to heritage interpretation had received considerable coverage via global media, international news and film media. Young (1993, taken from Lennon and Foley, 2004) argues that...
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