What is Dark Tourism?
Dark Tourism involves travelling to places which are associated with death, disasters and tragedy. These are often places which have been affected by war, nuclear disaster sites, genocide sites, or human tombs. Although many of these places are considered taboo, people are still drawn to visit because of an adrenaline rush, a fascination, gaining a deeper understanding for the past, to get a better idea of the experience and to learn from the past, including about culture and the significance of the event.
Why do people visit Dark Tourism sites??
For most people, there is a morbid curiosity with sites of dark tourism. They want to see the consequences of humans actions and how they can destroy lives, from murder or the result of technology gone awry. It is also to get an understanding of what victims went through. For some sites, such as Chernobyl, it can also be used to understand the culture from a time capsule of history which is now frozen in time.
What is Responsible Dark Tourism?
It is important when visiting any of these places to be responsible and respectful. At any of these places, it is important you show your respect for those who have tragically lost their lives or suffered horrors. We've collected some tips for responsible and respectful travel when visiting these sites.
Although taking photos isn't forbidden at most of these places, and you may wish to capture the photos, you should aim to use photos taken to educate others. For example, capture only images which provide a narrative or insight into what took place. This means that in most places, you should refrain from taking selfies or happy family pictures, and ensure you show respect to the location.
Be prepared for emotions
Most people comment that when they visit these dark tourism destinations, they are overwhelmed with emotions which they may not be prepared for. This may not be only sadness, but potentially anger. Although you can't fully prepare for what you will see, you can prepare by knowing that you will experience a range of emotions.
Bring a tissue
Relating to the previous point, most people are sure to shed a few tears at these places so you can prepare with some tissues in advance.
Do your research
To fully get the most out of visiting one of these dark places, you should educate yourself beforehand as to what happened at these places. It will not only help you prepare emotionally for what you may experience, but also understand the history of the place better.
Respect other visitors
You should respect all other travellers also visiting the destinations and not pass any judgement. This is because some people may have relatives or know people who were victims of the site. Don't pass judgement on other's reactions, as other people and cultures show emotions in different ways to you.
Don't take items
When visiting, make sure you don't touch or take items home with you. Leave the place exactly how you left it, so that others who visit after you can experience the same.