Not everyone likes beach-sightseeing tourism. Some travelers find it too banal and boring. Fans of tickling nerves have come up with an essentially new tourist destination – dark tourism. What they do during their holidays, DIP will tell.
Are you attracted by history, gothic, and mysticism? You could become a dark tourist. Such travelers seek and visit the most “unfortunate” places on Earth. For example, those associated with witchcraft, genocide, large-scale tragedies, natural disasters, man-made disasters, or infamous deaths. From Auschwitz to Chornobyl, Gettysburg, the site of the Kennedy assassination, and the 9/11 Memorial in New York, tourists make immersing themselves in the worst pages of human history part of their vacation, if not the whole goal.
That is, “dark” in this context is understood not literally, but metaphorically, as “the dark chapter of history.”
Industry experts say that this phenomenon has a long tradition, not associated with fear or anything supernatural. So J. John Lennon, professor of tourism at the Caledonian University in Glasgow (Scotland), claims that dark tourism dates back to the Battle of Waterloo when people specially gathered in their carriages to the battlefield and watched what was happening.
There are no official statistics on how many people are engaged in this strange type of tourism annually and whether their number is growing. To date, almost a thousand places in 115 countries of the world are known that are of interest to gloomy travelers. Not all dark tourism destinations are popular. Some of them may be completely obscure.
However, pop culture is fueling the rise in the popularity of dark tourism. So after the release of the HBO mini-series “Chernobyl” about the tragedy at the nuclear power plant in 1986, travel companies that deliver people to the area said that the number of visitors increased by 40%. Around the same time, the Ukrainian government announced its intention to make the Chornobyl exclusion zone an official tourist destination.