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The Emergence of the Dark or Grief Tourism Phenomenon - Essay Example

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The reporter describes the word ‘tourism’ hitherto as the notion that has always been a pleasant connotation, something to look forward to, something exciting and relaxing. With the changes in the structure of the society, more purchasing power in the hands of the people, rightly associated with more stress, tourism worldwide has grown beyond proportions…
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The Emergence of the Dark or Grief Tourism Phenomenon
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Download file to see previous pages Today we hear of spiritual tourism, health tourism, casino tourism, sex tourism, adventure tourism and heritage tourism. If this was not enough today we have what is labeled the ‘dark’ or the ‘grief’ tourism. Postmodernism, tourism is more specialized and caters to tourists with all sorts of tastes. What exactly is the dark tourism and how does it affect the society and culture of the region?
Uttering the word ‘tourism’ gives one a feeling of excitement and pleasure. The phrase dark tourism was coined in 1997 (MacMillan 2002) to describe the phenomenon of people traveling to the scene or place of disaster to see for themselves the place where it happened. There was a massive outpouring of public grief in the months following the death of Princess Diana in August 1997. People’s extravagant display of public sorrow for individuals they have never met led to the movement being called dark tourism. The words grief tourism and grief tourists were subsequently associated with visitors to the site in New York where the Twin Towers were demolished on 11th September 2001. It was in 2002 that the terms grief tourism and grief tourists first began to emerge as people flocked to Soham in Cambridgeshire following the deaths of two young schoolgirls, Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, who were tragically murdered by the caretaker of their local school.
Governments and other local authorities are faced with dilemmas regarding representation of sites associated with death and disaster in the context of tourism visits. Today a large number of sites associated with war, genocide, assassination and other tragic events have become significant tourist destinations. This phenomenon is called the dark tourism (John Lennon & Malcom Foley, November 2000). Places associated with death and catastrophe range from famous assassination sites such as Kennedy’s at Dallas to concentration camps and Holocaust memorials. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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