The Rise in Dark Tourism and its Challenges

According to GlobalData, a rise in dark tourism is creating ethical challenges for authorities as they try to balance education and memorialisation with commodification. 

Dark tourism attractions can range from sites of death such as cemeteries, mausoleums or tombs to places of killings such as battlefields, genocide, and assassination sites.

“Fascination with sites of death and destruction is neither new nor a specifically Western phenomenon. Nevertheless, touristic visitations to sites of death and disasters are becoming a pervasive feature of modern society—and, as a result, travellers’ itineraries,” said Hannah Free, Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData.

The leading data and analytics company’s latest report revealed that ethical implications are one of the four main challenges for dark tourism, alongside authenticity, over-tourism and technology integration. 

Despite dark tourism having the power to revisit history and allow travellers to learn about the past, commodification is an undeniable consequence, disrespecting and devaluing the meaning behind sites of death and mass tragedy. 

“Steps should be taken to ensure that the tours are responsible and educational. For instance, the 9/11 Ground Zero Museum Workshop hosts student and educational tours on a regular basis.”

GlobalData has suggested that authorities discuss with locals, survivors, and victims’ families regarding the management of profits.