Sunday, 17 July 2011

Dark Tourism

'Dark tourism is the act of travel and visitation to sites, attractions and exhibitions which have real or recreated death, suffering or the seemingly macabre as a main theme.' Stone P.R (2005).

The Dark Tourism Forum was launched in 2005 and has become 'the premier online Academic Research Facility for the subject of dark tourism', it says on its web site. The Dark Tourism Forum is a collaborative project, led by the University of Central Lancashire, between various Partner Institutions and Industry Partners, and is supported by both The Tourism Society and Springboard UK. Part of the following blog note is based on some the site's content

As the Dark Tourism web site says 'Most tourists to battlefields are interested in seeing history made “real”...For some veterans of war, returning to battlefields or battle memorials may provide the opportunity to reach closure on a tragic period of life. The fascination with war in all aspects is seen for example in the long history of visits to battlefields of World War 1 and the beautifully maintained cemeteries of the fallen.

Anyone who has visited a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery such as the one at Souda Bay in Crete cannot fail to be moved by the juxtaposition of the beauty of the location with the tragedy of the loss of life and the sometimes emotional comments in the visitors book. There is an intense feeling of experience at such sites. Lives were lost on the ground the visitor is standing on. Tour operators who plan and lead battlefield tours rarely see a tourist who is seeking a morbid experience. Rather, battlefield tourists are filled with respect for the dead who fought a valiant battle.

More at The Dark Tourism Forum and an illustration of battlefield re-enactment - another example of Dark Tourism here on Youtube - this has had 51,000 plus views since posting - for a simple animation

Attract has undertaken a number of projects related to 'Dark Tourism' centred around battlefields and other military related attractions.

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