What is dark tourism? Why is dark tourism so popular? How was Dark tourism introduced to this world? – These are some of the common questions asked by many.
Let’s kick start this short article on dark tourism with its definition and a little bit of its history. There are many explanations to this term but generally – Dark Tourism, a term created way back in 1996, relates to the act of traveling and visiting sites, attractions and exhibitions which have real or recreated death or suffering. This definition simply put recounts to having “a macabre experience” as its main theme (Brand & Platter, 2011). In the recent years, this concept has started to gain academic attention and has in fact sparked the interest of many hospitality students. It has become the subject of academic debates more remarkably for its stimulating critiques and assessments of underlying impact it has to the current society today.
As we all know and are widely aware, experiencing incidents that has a link or is significant to death, pain and suffering are not something new. In fact, religious pilgrimages have attracted people to sites of death and violence for centuries. Tourists have long been drawn towards these type of death-related attractions. At this point, it is yet interesting to note that The Roman Colosseum, situated in the city of Rome, Italy, is considered to be one of the first dark tourist attractions in the world. Did you know this?
Describing and sharing details on its history does not say much. Let’s go one notch higher in focusing on the social and economic benefits of dark tourism. There are many different types of benefits coupled with dark tourism. This includes increased tourism revenue, income generation as wells as emotional and psychological benefit. Socially, dark tourism can be used to acquire and reflect on concerns that plays a part to catastrophe; especially for future young generations. Economically, dark tourism produces revenue and income for ‘attractions’ which in a way may not have potential for touristic visitation. Understanding the benefits of this, will aid in creating awareness for people in our society (Daams, 2007).
As previously mentioned, dark tourism may not always be associated with death. It needs to have some form of ‘dark’ element discovered in this places. In relation to this context, do you know the dark side of Singapore? Do you know places/ attractions here that has a deep dusky history and insight? Think about it.
An old concept with many thought-provoking and attention-grabbing information. With many useful fundamentals delivering to this, it is hence important for our students to understand and get a better grasp of this concept. In one of their session, students were given an opportunity to do their own independent academic research and develop a presentation as part of their coursework. Our students did an amazingly excellent job and I as a lecturer, couldn’t be more proud of them. Having roots from pre-modern age, Dark Tourism has now proven to have given our students a new relevance to this rather ‘gloomy’ word.
Brand S., Platter N. (2011) Dark tourism. In: Papathanassis A. (eds) The Long Tail of Tourism. Gabler. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-8349-6231-7_2
Daams, E. (2007). Dark Tourism: Bearing Witness or Crass Spectacle? Retrieved on 23rd Feburary 2021from: http://www.bravenewtraveler.com/2007/10/10/dark-tourism-more-than-a-spectacle/