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Is Dark Tourism on the Rise?

by Holly Riddle

Oct 5, 2022

© Dirk Wenzel | Dreamstime.com

Trends / Top Trends

If you’ve visited spots like the catacombs in Paris or the many famed graveyards in New Orleans, you’ve participated in “dark tourism.” Dark tourism is essentially a type of tourism focused on exploring sites and experiences that engage with the darker side of humanity and history (dark tourism sites can further be divided down into disaster tourism, cemetery tourism, war and battlefield tourism, ghost tourism, nuclear tourism, Holocaust and genocide tourism, and prison and persecution tourism). Dark tourism has been on the rise over the last few years and, according to a new study from Passport Photo Online, it is more popular now than ever.

 

The study found 82 percent of Americans have visited at least one dark tourism destination, while nearly two-thirds of those surveyed who hadn’t visited a dark tourism destination said they’d be interested in doing so in the future. The top dark tourism sites include Ground Zero in New York City, Pearl Harbor National Memorial and the catacombs of Paris.

 

So, why visit these sites? Respondents were nearly split in crediting their fascination with the spots to the sites’ histories and a wish to pay tribute to the people impacted by the sites’ significance.

 

Less than 10 percent of those surveyed took a negative view of dark tourism. However, more than half of survey respondents said they frowned upon their fellow tourists taking selfies at dark tourism destinations.

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