Purpose: This paper aims to review developments in dark tourism research over a 20-year period from its inception in 1996. This paper also considers the reasons why people visit dark tourism sites and the different perspectives of site operators, tourists and academics. Design/methodology/approach: This paper uses a round table discussion with three participants – all researchers who played a significant role in developing the early concept of dark tourism. The paper also explores a number of questions about past, current and future research interests and developments. Findings: It was observed that dark tourism site operators and visitors tend to view the act of remembrance as a significant reason for visiting a site associated with past atrocities. This perspective is rather different from the original concept of dark tourism – viewed by many as a form of pilgrimage tourism. Practical implications: The review reveals a gap between aspects of the literature on dark tourism and the reasons why these sites remain popular with tourists. Site operators and visitors say that motives for visiting are more commonly associated with an act of remembrance and a sense of pilgrimage than a desire to view a site associated with pain and death. Originality/value: This viewpoint provides a 20-year perspective on research in dark tourism based on a conversation between three of the most eminent researchers in the field.
- dark tourism research
- pilgrimage tourism