Dark tourism: a necessary evil?

So seeing as I have a lot of work that I SHOULD be doing, obviously what I’m doing is planning a trip. I’ve been wanting to go back to New York for awhile and visit my family. With the recent anniversary of 9/11 it got me thinking about visiting ground zero and why people do it. I remember when I was at ground zero in 2007 and I didn’t even have any capability of wrapping my head around the fact that just six years before people had probably died and had their whole lives changed as they stood in the same spots that I stood in. The same places where at the time I was there stood food stands, street vendors, people drinking coffee and going about their normal business at one time had people in utmost despair and confusion.

Even when I went to the London Tower, we went in the torture chamber and still it was hard to imagine the thoughts and emotions that were going on in the peoples’ heads who were going through these atrocities in these same places where I stood.

At the Tower of London

There is a whole label dedicated to this type of vacationing called Dark Tourism. In travel article the author thinks that it is a necessary evil to help tourists better understand the destination wholly.

What are your thoughts, are vacations purely for enjoyment and shall we say, fun in the sun? Or should they be times to explore and understand a place and a culture different from their own? Or should we have separate vacations for these two purposes?


  1. Eleanor M. Barnes · September 20, 2012

    At first I found myself agreeing with your view of dark tourism, Mollie. Then I recalled why people visit places that I think I would never want to see, like the Nazi concentration camps. Who would want to visit such places of horror, yet we should never forget what occurred in those places because we must always be aware that humanity is capable of such abominable acts. We remember 9-11 to honor those who died there and to understand that it was human beings who committed this atrocity. It is sad that by turning such sites into tourist attractions, we allow a carnival atmosphere as well.

  2. Kyle M · September 24, 2012

    This is a challenging post for me… a highlight of any of my trips is usually the local torture chamber, prison, etc. Maybe I should rethink that.

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