Purpose: This paper aims to review the dark tourism concept as it applies to visitation, understanding and education to determine whether a gap exists between academic research and literature, the operation of dark tourism sites and the motivations of visitors. Design/methodology/approach: The paper development of the dark tourism concept over a 20-year period and draws on the papers and debate among contributors to this theme issue to determine the role played by dark tourism in contemporary society. Findings: It was concluded that the concept of dark tourism remains relevant and that what is interpreted, merits educational focus and what is ignored is a function of the complex interaction of commercial potential, political will and social acceptability. Practical implications: This paper incorporates the reflections of senior practitioners and academics in a comprehensive review of the dark tourism concept. Originality/value: The paper provides a blend of academic and practitioner insight on a facet of tourism that is often misunderstood and even misinterpreted. It was observed that dark tourism is an important way of remembering the past and that for many visitors, it offers a form of pilgrimage.
- dark tourism
- visitor motivation