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Walking Amongst the Dead

Walking Amongst the Dead
Author: Sanam Iqbal
1 Commentries

Dark tourism is becoming a vast growing market in the tourism industry as the industry is growing rapidly. As dark tourism is being recognised more and there are many more individual's that are starting to show interest into this type of tourism. Dark tourism is mainly associated with death, disaster and human suffering (Sharpley and Stone, 2009). This paper will explore the aspects of dark tourism and will concentrate at on the holocaust. The motivations and ethical issues of travelling to these destinations will be looked upon.

Keywords: Dark Tourism, Motivations, Holocaust, Ethical Issues.

Dark tourism is a term used for tourist who visit places that are linked to death, disaster, human suffering and are linked to war. The term dark tourism has become popular through Lennon and Foley's research in this particular area. There are other authors like Seaton who have referred to it as 'thanatourism', Rojek who refers to it as 'black spots' and 'sensation tourism' (Smith et al, 2009). The concept of dark tourism has started to become well known and diverse in today's industry. There has been a rapid growth in the provision of various dark tourism attractions and experiences from different era's (Sharpley and Stone, 2009).

Dark tourism dates back to the early medieval period up until the nineteenth century when people use to travel to view public executions and hangings. There are some other early examples of dark tourism like the Roman Gladiator games which attracted many spectators in that early period and is often considered one of the first dark tourist attractions (Stone, 2006).It is mentioned that in the western society there has always been a fascination for death be it fictional or real or media inspired but it is considered one of the key drivers for dark tourism. The individual's who travel to witness death or visit a place where death has occurred do not believe they are causing any harm they just visit out of interest. It has also been suggested that dark tourism is the 'dirty little secret of the tourism industry' as some can resolve their holiday around death (Marcel, 2004 in Stone, 2006:147).
Death, disaster and massacre are becoming a persistent feature in the modern tourism landscape thus providing spiritual journeys for tourists who wish to see the sight of real and recreated death. The type of dark tourism people wish to seek can vary from the battlefields in France, to the tragedy of ground zero, to the natural disasters like hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, there is also the mass murder sites like Auschwitz-Birkenau and the killing fields in of Cambodia. People also travel to places where famous people have died to see for themselves where the event took place. The level of dark tourism can be categorised into five sections that determines how dark the individual is (Stone, 2006).

It is argued by some that dark tourism is simply the motives of tourist instead of it being dominated by site or attraction. They mainly associate dark tourism with the behavioural theory of different travellers so it is mainly linked with the feelings, needs and wants of these travellers (Seaton, 1996 in Stone, 2006:146). Seaton's perspective restricts dark tourism to a demand phenomenon and does not take into consideration the importance of the supply factor of dark tourism. Therefore it has been outlined that it is difficult to pin down dark tourism as attraction-supply driven or consumer-demand driven. It is suggested that both supply and demand fundamentals should be taken into account when trying to create a framework for the dark tourism aspect (Sharpley, 2005 in Stone, 2006:146).

The holocaust was the killing of six million innocent Jews innocent which was decided by the national policy of Nazi Germany. The holocaust is also referred to the period of January 30th 1933 when Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany till the duration of May 8th 1945. This was deliberate plan formed by Adolf Hitler to annihilate the whole of the Jewish population in Europe. Adolf Hitler's party were made in charge after the suffering and financial loss of the world war it became apparent that a new party needed to take control. This is when the president Paul Von Hindenburg elected Adolf Hitler the chancellor of the Nazi party and this is when the plans were starting to be formed (Boni and Paulsson, 2001).

The Jewish people were taken from their homes and were told they were being taken to places of work where they would live with their families and were shown false images of what their lives were to be like. Instead they were taken to concentration camps where they would be degraded, heavily abused and treated in a very inhuman way which they would have to endure until death came to the (Chodoff, 1997). They were made to live in blocks with lots of other Jews there was hardly any space to move in the quarters that they lived in. They often was not enough food, beds or blankets provided which resulted in them stealing and get in to a brawl amongst each other. It became clear to the Jews that the Nazi wanted them dead and in the concentration camp it will be a fight for survival amongst the fittest. One of the most brutal thing the Nazi's did was they use to Tell the Jewish people they were going down for showers and in these big bath rooms they were would gas them giving the Jews a slow painful death (Chodoff, 1997).

The tourist's wants, needs and feelings are often the key motivators for the choice of holiday they wish to embark upon (Gnoth, 1997). There are five motivations of dark travellers, the first is to witness public enactments of death, secondly travel to see sites of mass or individual deaths after they have occurred, thirdly to travel to internment site and memorials for the dead, fourthly to view material evidence or symbols of particular deaths and finally to travel for re-enactments or simulation of death (Wight, 2005).

The dark tourism product can be examined in terms of market segmentation and visitor typologies at holocaust sites (Kotler, 1994 in Wight, 2005:120). This product can be broken down into three levels, the core product, the tangible product and augmented product (Kotler, 1994 in Wight, 2005:121). The motivations of travellers vary as the travellers visiting the Holocaust site can be split in two different categories. First there are the survivors who visit the place where the massacre occurred and the product lifecycle quiet simply concludes that they visit due to pure emotion the place holds and to regain the memories as it becomes diluted later in life. Then there are the less predictable general leisure travellers and are more related to the function marketing efforts (Wight, 2005).

It may be seen as unethical by many people especially those who have been affected by the violence for dark tourists. They may feel as though they are being violated by people using their struggle as a tourist destination. The concentrations camps attract many dark tourists; many of them visit to pay respect to all the lives that were lost during that time. However there are some people who disrespect the memorial sites by damaging them or spraying graffiti. The locals there do not appreciate such tourists; they think that it is unethical and disrespectful. They think it is wrong for the tourists to take pictures in which they are smiling and also to eat at the memorial sites (Clark 2006, in Robb 2009).

To conclude this paper has explored the different aspects of tourism and the importance of various concepts surrounding motivation and ethical aspects of dark tourism. It has been established that dark tourism is fast growing market in the travel and tourism industry and is one of the key influences behind travel motives. There is a clear demand for dark tourism that is being supplied but this is still an ongoing debate of weather dark tourism is motivate by the supply or the demand for this type of tourism.

Boni, B.E. and Paulsson, G.S. (2001) Holocaust and Memory: The experience of the Holocaust and Memory: the experince of the holocaust and it's consequences......London:Continum.

Chodoff, P. (1997) The Holocaust and Its Effects on Survivors: An Overview. Polotical Psychology, 18(1).

Gnoth, J. (1997) Tourism Motivation and Expectation Formation. Annals of Tourism Research, 24(2).

Lennon, J. and Foley, M. (2000) Dark Tourism. London: Continum.

Robb, E. M. (2009) Violence and Recreation: Vacationing in the Realm of Dark Tourism. Anthropology and Humanism, 34(1).

Sharpley, R. and Stone R.P. (2009) The Darker Side of Travel: The theory and Practice of Dark Tourism. England: Channel View Publications.

Smith, M., Macleod, N. and Robertson, H.M (2009) Key Concepts in Tourist Studies. London: SAGE.

Stone, P.R. (2006) A Dark Tourism Spectrum: Towards a Typology of death and macabre related tourist sites, attractions and exhibitions. University of Central Lancashire, 54(2).

Wight, C. (2006) Philosophical and methodological praxes in dark tourism: Controversy, contention and the evolving paradigm. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 12(2).

Walking Amongst the Dead
Author: Nadine Buchanan
Walking Amongst the Dead
This paper has a great title it is very catchy and draws in the reader. The paper is about the motivations for dark tourism. The paper provides a fair overview of some of the key issues surrounding the dark tourism topic in relation to ethics on motivation. The paper could have provided more definitions of dark tourism from some of the main dark tourism academic researcher such as Tarlow, (2005, p.48) who defines Dark Tourism as, visitations to places where tragedies or historical death have occurred and that continues to impact our lives. Also Foley and Lennon, (1999, p.198) who describe it as "the phenomenon which encompasses the presentation and consumption...of real and commoditised death and disaster sites".
The paper quite a lot of detail about the history of the Holocaust and although it makes a good points that dark tourism dates back to the early medieval period the detail of the Holocaust is not necessary because most people know about the horrific events that occurred. However the author has acknowledged that it is difficult to determine whether dark tourism is in fact supply driven or demand driven (Sharpley and stone, 2009).
Furthermore the paper notes that there are different categories of dark tourism which is important when trying to determine the motivations for dark tourism, because the motivations for each place can vary depending upon the nature and the intensity of the dark tourism place. For example as Sharpley and Stone, 2009 indicates the motivation for going to a fun dark tourism attractions such as the London dungeons would be different to the motivations for visiting a concentration camp. The motivator for the fun attraction may be an excursion whereas the motivator for a concentration camp could be education and history. Furthermore it depends on how interested and fascinated with death the person is (Sharpley and Stone, 2009).
The paper also acknowledges that there is a rapid growth of dark tourism and more fascination with it than ever. This could be a result of the post modern tourism which is the development from mass tourism and package holidays to tourists having the desire to experience new destinations and more diverse places, including ecotourism, heritage and dark tourism (Munt, 1994). It is suggested that post-modern tourism is having an impact upon tourism products and the demand for niche tourism products is on the rise (ibid).
The paper has covered some of the key issues and makes some valid points, however there could have been more examples of different sides of the argument, such as the opinions of those that agree with dark tourism (Swarbrooke, 1996, Ritchie et al, 2003), in contrast to those that don't (Williams, 2008, Dann, 1977). Furthermore there could have been more about the history and education motivation aspects in contrast to the morbid curiosity motivation and the idea that people disguise the fascination with death with a desire to learn. Moreover the dark tourism spectrum is important to the motivations of dark tourism and it would have been interesting to have seen some of the viewpoints in regard to this.

Dann, G. (1977) Anomie, Ego-enhancement and Tourism. Annals of Tourism Research 4: 184-194.

Munt, I. (1994) the 'Other' Postmodern Tourism: Culture, Travel and the New Middle Classes. Theory, Culture and Society 11: 101-123.

Ritchie, B., W., Carr, N. and Cooper, C. (2003) Managing Educational Tourism. USA: Channel View Publications.
Sharpley, R. and Stone, P., R. (Eds.) (2009) The Darker Side of Travel. The Theory and Practice of Dark Tourism. Great Britain: Chanel View Publications.
Swarbrooke, J. (1996) the Development and Management of Visitor Attractions. Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann.

Tarlow, P. (2005) Dark Tourism: The appealing 'dark' side of tourism and more. In M. Novelli (ed.) Niche Tourism: Contemporary Issues, Trends and Cases (pp.47-57). Oxford: Elsevier.

Williams, P. (2008) The Afterlife of Communist Statuary: Hungary's Szoborpark and Lithuania's Grutas Park. St. Andrews: University of St. Andrews, Forum for Modern Language studies.