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Money latest: Morrisons shoppers are going to notice two changes in stores | UK News

by UNN Feed

By Ollie Cooper, Money team

Interest in a phenomenon known as “dark tourism” has been steadily rising in recent years – but what is it?

To find out, we’ve spoken with tourism academic Dr Hayley Stainton and renowned dark tourist and author Dr Peter Hohenhaus, who runs a dark tourism website.

What is it?

In general, dark tourism involves travelling to sites connected to death or disaster.

“Dark tourism has been around for as long as we have been travelling to places associated with death,” Dr Stainton says. 

However, the term wasn’t officially coined until 1996 by John Lennon, a professor of tourism at Glasgow Caledonian University, in Scotland.

“Not everyone is familiar with the term,” says Dr Stainton, “[but] many people have been a dark tourist at some time or another, whether intentional or not.”

Some examples of the most famous sites

  • Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York, US
  • Chernobyl, Ukraine 
  • Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan
  • Choeung Ek “killing fields” and the Tuol Sleng genocide museum at the former S-21 prison in Phnom Penh, Cambodia 

Areas with a degree of infamy, like Alcatraz, are extremely popular spots that also fall under the “dark tourism” umbrella. 

How popular is it?

Dr Hohenhaus and Dr Stainton say they have noticed a rise in its popularity. 

“Tourists are looking for more unique and unusual experiences,” Dr Stainton says. 

“This has seen a move away from the more traditional ‘sun, sea and sand’ type holidays to a variety of different tourism forms, which includes dark tourism.”

Dr Hohenhaus adds: “Maybe people want to connect to more recent and hence more personally relevant history – that is definitely the case with myself.”

He goes on: “I think I’ve learned more about the world through dark tourism than through all of my formal education or my previous academic career.”

Is it ethical?

This is the big question associated with dark tourism. 

Dr Stainton says that while problems do…

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