Tragedies, deaths, misery. These words are dreaded by most of the people; however, the history attached to them has always sparked curiosity. This curiosity has also caused a rise in a rather unconventional type of tourism known as Dark Tourism.
BUT WHAT EXACTLY IS IT?
Dark Tourism, aka Thanatourism, is another type of tourism where tourists visit places of historic tragedies with deaths and misery linked to them. So why would someone visit place like Kala Pani in Andaman & Nicobar islands rather than enjoying the Serene beaches? Are they sadists? No one knows for sure.
Examples of historic tragedies include genocide, assassination, incarceration, ethnic cleansing, war, disasters, etc., And surprisingly these places are thronged by visitors. One reason could be the strong association of the supernatural with these places, and tourists flock in the hope of finding some signs of spirits or paranormal activities.
Another probable reason could be that people are naturally fasinated with the dark side. People want to learn about how past tragedies influenced their current world. Sometimes people may visit out of a sense of respect or exploration.
Philip stone, the executive director of the Institute for Dark Tourism Research at the University of Central Lancashire, said: “I think when we go to these places, we see not strangers, but often we seen ourselves and perhaps what we might do in those circumstances.”
An online website run by dark tourists called Dark-Tourism.com, reveals that almost 900 places in 112 countries have a ‘Dark Story’. But how ethical and safe in dark tourism? Should nations profit over historical tragedies? The answer various from person to person, but this type of tourism is seeing a huge influx.
In a 2018 Netflix documentary called Dark Tourism, journalist David Farrier visited locations with a dark past. Some of these still had radiation, reports of paranormal activity, and murders.
One of his conclusions was that people returned home feeling grateful and happy. Paradoxically, it appears people felt better than expected after reliving other people’s misfortunes.
Some notable places of dark tourist spots like the catacombs, 9/11 museum, Auschwitz concentration camps, Jallianwala bagh, Roopkund, etc. Are places regarded by dark tourists for the grim history they hold behind.