Over the last century dark tourism has grown in volume and has become more widespread. Visitors of today seem to be motivated by the same factors as in the ancient times, with many of them increasingly drawn to sites of atrocities, suffering, public figure executions, mass executions, torture museums and dungeons among others. The growth and consumption of dark tourism has reached alarming rates. Given that it is highly unlikely for such motivations to disappear, efforts need be made to address the controversies generated by the interpretation and presentation of tragic history as a commercialized attraction.
This paper thus seeks to understand the controversies surrounding dark tourism. Drawing on different attractions across the tourism spectrum, the paper examines the controversies associated with the interpretation of dark tourism. It explores on the curious connection between the sad and the bad and their touristic representations which has raised contentions in tourism literature; and examines whether development of tourism resources at sites associated with tragedies is inappropriate or immoral vehicle for the presentation of human suffering and troubled events, as pointed out by Strange & Kempa (2003). Based on the reasons put forth in this analysis, the paper concludes that consumption of dark tourism is justified and that it is not an inappropriate way of presenting tragedies and human suffering. The paper, however, calls for future research to examine the implications of using emotive terminologies such as “dark tourism”.
Table of contents
Abstract 2 Introduction 4 Dark tourism: perspectives 5 The rise of dark tourism 6 History, culture and authenticity 8 Death and contemporary society 10 Conclusion 13 Reference 15
Tourism has often been associated with pleasure, leisure