Dark tourism and its motivations
Over the previous century, it has been seen that travelers have long been attracted to destinations or events connected in one way or another to suffering, disaster and death (Stone, 2008). Such destinations are known as “dark” tourism sites according to key philosophers John Lennon and Malcolm Foley. Such places are also known as ‘Black Spots’ and Thanatourism (Seaton, 1996). This type of tourism is what Seaton (1999) describes as, travelling to places linked with death, misery and other disastrous events that have developed into significant tourist hotspots. In fact, theeact of touristic travel to places. of massacre, ruins, death, murder and war has become the most evolving division of tourism throughout the past years and cultural activity within the modern society.
The term ‘dark tourism’ was first created by Lennon and Foley (1996) to define the relationship among.tourism attractions and a curiosity in death. They defined it as, the phenomenon which involves. the presentation and consumption of real and commodified death and disaster sites. Lately Kidron (2013), has discussed how many of these.dark tourism experiences are “an emotional.encounter of pain, horror, death and violence”.
Dark sites can be categorized into many.different types, ranging from death locations such as the shooting of JFK, the re-enactment of staged.battles like the Sealed Knot Society (English Civil War). (Seaton, 1996) to prisons such as Alcatraz and Robben Island in San Francisco and South Africa respectively (Wilson, 2008).
The Push and Pull model by Dann (1977) describes how external forces can have an influence upon our. day-to-day lives and in turn help the decision to take a holiday. The push related.factors leads the. customer to choose one location or travel service over an alternative service once the choice to travel. has been made (often related with needs and wants of the tourist including relaxation, adventure and. escape). On the contrary pull factors are linked to the features and qualities associated with the. location, such as sun shine, climate variables, amenities and beaches to name a few. Both push and pull. factors play an important role in simplifying the travel procedure, however at two different points in. time, namely push factors are pre-travel factors frequently related with where to visit, and pull factors, once the conclusion to travel has been made, are particularly associated to where to travel and the. services of the destination.
Within the realms.of push, Dann (1977) presents the concept of anomie and ego enhancement in which. both.factors facilitate the formation of a fantasy location to which a traveler occasionally visits. The notion of anomie is connected to the alteration in the social environment where rules associated with. order are limited and where chaos is widespread. Examining the concept of ego enhancement, Dann (1977) describes how this also performs as a push factor and is related with the human need to be. recognized and to feel superior. In this situation, tourism is used as an instrument for social development, not only can the tourist access destinations where his social standing is unknown and thus feel greater. Upon return from the holiday he or she can show off about their vacation experience and. this in turn boosts their ego (Dann 2012).
In terms of the push factors that encourage vacations to dark sites, these include, better knowledge of the past connected with an event. People visit dark sites for personal reasons to remember loved family. and friends or their own personal involvement in war (e.g. war sites) (Bigley et al, 2010), some visit to. sustain ethnic and religious character (e.g. spiritual sites) (Collins-Kreiner, 2010) and lastly some travel. out of morbid inquisitiveness (Cheal & Griffin, 2013). Other factors consist of improvement of kinship, support, relationships and belonging/closeness (Tie et al, 2015), all of these can be defined as push. factors. Fascinatingly in study carried out by Krakover (2005), the younger generation mentioned. curiosity as the major push travel motivation for going to dark sites connected with killing. However, dark locations also have the influence to pull tourists with the resaon of education, nostalgia and tribute; this is undoubtedly the situation at any Holocaust related galleries where leftovers of a former evil political command are displayed for everyone to see.
Curiosity itself is a crucial push travel motivation linked with dark tourism. Crompton (1979) describes how inquisitiveness is associated with innovation, a search for an exceptional experience that facilitates. the location choice and subsequently to experience.the attraction at the destination. Curiosity is also connected with the numerous unseen facts connected with death and devastation that urges humans to visit such sites and pulls the inquisitive from all over the world to dark destinations (Strange & Kempa, 2003). Running parallel.to this; the activity of the media must not be unrecognized (Seaton & Lennon, 2004) as news reports and improved internet accessibility has acted as a push factor to those sites that. become instant sensations as destination attractions for the inquisitively macabre (Smith, 1998). Looking at natural catastrophes such as tornados, tsunamis and floods all of which pose as pull factors. attracting the tourist to glance at first hand the damaging forces of nature. Mayo & Jarvis (1981) claim that as human beings we are all born with a sense of inquisitiveness and an unquenchable appetite to travel the world, this level of curiosity can reduce as we grow up or when motivations related with push and pull change.
Bearing in mind these differing motivations, it is vital to note.that the basis for grief-based travelers to. travel to dark locations can be motivated by a “pseudo-relationship” (Stone, 2008) to the media coverage of the person/event. Stone (2012) also reviews dark tourism from a practical viewpoint, arguing that many dark locations offer a chance for mediation, a chance for people who are alive to. experience and construct meaning to the life after death.
Dark travel is a fascinating type tourism where going to the concentration sites, combat sites and graveyards can give the immediate experience of hardship.through our very own eyes. Dark travel is . multi-dimensional that can have a deep influence in life. Dark travel also benefits to produce revenue for the community, which has been destroyed by a catastrophe to restructure itself. Additionally, dark tourism delivers emotional welfares to both the community and the traveler. As for the local community, dark travel can be used for informative reasons where awareness and inspiration can be displayed to the newer generations. Auschwitz in Poland was categorized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 and it is compulsory for all German students to visit during their schooling. Also, in dark tourism we can reminisce those who gave the lives to fight for justice or for the. good of the nation and to show reverence to them and their relatives.
However, Dark travel has some negative impacts as well. Locations of sudden death, tragedies, murders and suffering covered by the media, fascinate more and more travelers each year: basking on the coastlines wrecked by a tsunami; robbing parts of barbed fences from the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz; exploration of the war regions in Syria and Ukraine; purchasing tasteless mementos at Ground Zero; capturing pictures with the Costa Concordia wreckage in the background; snapchatting photos of each other in Chernobyl, clicking selfies in a gas compartment of a Nazi concentration camp. Dark travel that includes going to horror locations, such as places of exterminations, catastrophes, assassinations and disasters, is a rising phenomenon in the modern-day society (Stone, 2006).
In order to classify the variations of dark locations, the dark-to-light dark tourism spectrum of Stone can be used (Sharpley & Stone, 2009). The spectrum goes from dark-dark tourism to light-dark tourism. The darker type comprises of locations where death and misery occurred and they are typically political. driven, e.g. the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The lighter type of dark tourism is only related with death and suffering and are usually seen as edutainment locations. One example of lighter. dark travel is the dark fun factories like the Edinburgh Dungeon.
Dark locations need to be marketed appropriately, since death and misery as themes for tourism, locations are sensitive. Dark sites can be seen as destinations; thus, destination advertising is an important component of dark sites. The marketers should consider how much promotion is appropriate for dark locations. The marketing mix can.support the analyses of marketing tactics for a dark place. According to the form of dark locations, the level of marketing can differ. There are few dark locations that require less marketing, since they are categorized as a darker spot and are typically sponsored by the public sector. Alternatively, the lighter dark spots need more marketing in order to fascinate as many people as possible. Such sites are commercial driven; thus, the customers are vital for them.
It is also essential to target the correct markets by the marketing strategies. Hence, examining the markets can assist to figure out the correct target markets. The market research helps the advertisers. to keep the interest of the diverse stakeholders in balance. Market research also gives an idea of the present market situation of the businesses. The market research delivers data about the present and. future target markets which is essential for lighter types of dark travel, as they require the customers. The clients play an important part at lighter dark spots and destinations. The analyses of client satisfaction reviews deliver information about the experiences of the consumers. This helps in improving the service and also attracts more customers.
At the end, marketers and managers should market dark tourism sites by thinking about all the stakeholders. Appropriate marketing strategies should be implemented as dark sites have a meaning and are sensitive places for many people. Dark sites have many educational purposes and this acts as one of the main motivations for tourists to travel to such places. Selfies at horror locations are a link. people are trying to make to the media reporting of disastrous events, possibly in an effort to become a. part of a bigger story, a more significant narrative than the stories they create and show off on networking sites/social media every day. In the 19th century, Mallarme stated that, everything in the. world existed to end up in a book. In the 20th century, S. Sontag (1977) mentioned that, everything existed to end up in a picture. Today, sadly, everything happens to end.up in the background of a selfie.
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