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Dark Tourism - New research published on attractions of death and disaster

Read this special issue of the International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research freely throughout August

United Kingdom, 8 August 2013 – “All wars end in tourism”. A controversial and unethical statement? With war sites constituting one of the largest categories of tourist attractions in the world, there is an ever growing fascination with what is termed “dark tourism” – where travel is associated with death, suffering and the seemingly macabre. 

The subject of “dark tourism” provokes a challenging debate over the relationship between “heritage that hurts” and how contemporary society deals with death. New academic studies exploring the growth of “Dark Tourism” in the UK and abroad have just been published in a special issue of the International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research (Vol. 7 Issue 3). The authors explore the tourist experience at dark sites, how they are managed and marketed, and question the ethical issues of profit making at these often sensitive places of pilgrimage. 

The issue is  freely available to read throughout August, visit http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?issn=1750-6182&volume=7&issue=3

Contributor and Executive Director of the Institute of  Dark Tourism Research, Dr Philip Stone, comments, “The notion of dark tourism has even been examined as a kind of ‘deviant leisure’ – it is a fascinating and controversial area, and an area that can shine critical academic light on complex social, cultural, political and moral issues”.

Guest editor of the special issue, Dr Avital Biran of Bournemouth University, adds, “Rather than seeing dark tourism as a deviant fascination with death, we need to accept that death is an inevitable part of life, and this is reflected in tourism too.  We need to keep an open mind and resist the temptation to constrain it to a strict definition. This special issue aims to do just that”.

The papers in this special issue cover the whole spectrum of dark tourism – from a study of Mark Twain’s diaries, arguably the first dark tourist when in 1896 he embarked on a tour of some of the most gruesome and harrowing sites in Europe, to how retail operations at dark tourism sites are fraught with potential issues relating to taste and decency.

With case studies including Gallipoli, Auschwitz, the Imperial War Museum at Salford and the Liverpool Museum of Slavery and “death tourism”, the articles stretch the boundaries of the current definition of dark tourism, to recognize that it is a socially complex phenomenon with visitors experiencing dark sites in diverse ways. 

Notes to the editor

Published by Emerald Group Publishing, the International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research focuses on building bridges in theory, research, and practice across the inter-related fields of culture, tourism and hospitality.  For further information, visit http://www.emeraldinsight.com/ijcthr.htm

The guest editor, Dr Avital Biran is available for interview. To contact: Avital Biran: abiran@bournemouth.ac.uk or 07795 106 540.

For further information about this publication or to discuss further opportunities for interview, please contact Ros Clarke, email:  rclarke@emeraldinsight.com or telephone 0750 146 5696.

 

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