Dark tourism sites: visualization, evidence and visitation

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Abstract

This contribution considers dark tourism sites and their pivotal role as evidence of atrocity and evil. Their presence as developed visitor attractions or absence and non commemoration are fundamentally ideological. How they are interpreted and the role of visual imagery, most particularly photography is discussed from the perspective of the locations as both heritage and education sites. Their importance as historical record and the complex arguments in relation to conservation and maintenance are juxtaposed with the appetite and behavior of visitors in visually recording and uploading imagery of such sites on a worldwide scale. This visualization phenomenon allows us to consider the enormity of witnessing such events and viewing such sites as part of contemporary tourist behavior. This appeal and appetite for photographic and
filmic record illustrates not only an inherent fascination but also a series of dark and recurring themes. Yet in some locations, the ideological selectivity in development remains and evidence, record and historical facts are challenged. The context of Cambodia and Russia and their tragic pasts are used to illustrate why key heritage sites whether as developed visitor attractions or as ignored evidential sites merit discussion in the study of tourism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-227
JournalWorldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes
Volume9
Issue number2
Early online date13 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2017

Keywords

  • dark tourism
  • heritage
  • education
  • heritage sites

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