This is due, in part, to the barriers of apathy and insufficient dissemination of research Biggs, et al. With regards to the former, the resources required to shift management practices towards more flexible and adaptive approaches is beyond the capacity of existing organizational mandates. The latter issue is due to the lack of research sharing between multiple research disciplines and practitioners Biggs, et al.
Tourism researchers therefore need to move beyond the trivialities of definitions, and begin to constructively build on the complex, real-world issues facing dark tourism. It is acknowledged that definitions are a pivotal and essential component of tourism research. It may be that, by understanding the components of the definition, researchers are building upon existing knowledge. However, it would still be advantageous to draw fewer boundaries around a concept by defining it so heavily; definitions are contextually restricted to a certain time, place, and outlook.
Expanding and advancing our understanding may require that a concept is understood as having multiple, and often competing, frames. In particular, the subtle, underlying meanings of words can contribute to the perspectives of certain concepts. The literature review of this article discussed at length the bias against dark tourism as a negative concept, due in part to semantics Bowman and Pezzullo Dark tourism is not explicitly tied to the more positively-perceived heritage tourism in the popular media; thus, it is easy for the general public to develop an abhorrence of the topic and unwillingness to acknowledge it Bowman and Pezzullo This could generate unnecessarily negative reactions in communities where sites of past tragedies are marked for tourism development.
There may also be less attention and credence paid to the term within the scholarly community, limiting future research opportunities. This discussion provides a good example of the synergistic effects and related dangers inherent in simplistic tourism research.
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Commercial providers of dark tourism are responsive to visitor needs, and will enhance or hide certain features based on expressed visitor preferences Bowman and Pezzullo Thus, the whole system surrounding dark tourism becomes a self-contained and self-perpetuating loop. These loops tend to expend a significant amount of energy and ultimately collapse, reorganize, and continue on in altered form Biggs, et al.
Researchers who remain oblivious to the impact of their research on popular media and, thus, the real world present a major problem. They must also remain aware of how their information may be taken and misconstrued by various sources. The converse, when researchers do not interact sufficiently with the community to share their research, can also be problematic. During this growth period, researchers have greater levels of control over the depth, scale, and importance of a concept Clark Dark tourism is currently under development, but its negative connotations have deterred many from openly discussing it Yankholmes and Akyeampong This could be the primary deterrent towards more complex, systems-based approaches to dark tourism.
Researchers could be hesitant to approach communities regarding their dark tourism sites, or unwilling to address the topic at all. Thus, critical components of this term may be yet unexplored by the academic community. This is contributing to several conceptual and theoretical failures in dark tourism research. The concept suggests that tourists must travel to seascapes, landscapes, and cultural or natural heritage before it vanishes due to climate changes Lemelin et al.
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It is an aspect of dark tourism in which tourists are motivated to visit morbid or depressing locations for future rather than past tragedy. The paradox is that these tourists are travelling to destinations in modes of transportation e. Additionally, they are gazing on the destination with the firm belief that it will be entirely gone in the near future.
However, researchers have failed to: 1 comprehensively address this topic, and 2 disseminate results to the public. Few studies which evaluate why tourists are travelling to these endangered locations have tested the reliability of their survey tools, thereby potentially biasing their participants Daniel J. Scott, personal communication, September 14 th , With regards to the second problem, researchers have not yet made it clear to the public that it is not the entire destination which will be disappearing; rather, it is only certain features which will be changing over time D.
This complex concept must be properly communicated to the public to enhance conservation and management strategies while still maintaining tourist interest in the affected areas. This section has discussed the implications of dark tourism, not in relation to globalization or other factors as discussed previously, but with regards to the term itself. Defining a term within certain boundaries is problematic for a multitude of reasons; it prevents multiple disciplinary perspectives from joining the conversation about the concept and biases societal perspectives for or against it. This can generate methodological and conceptual flaws in research.
These flaws could be challenging to reduce or eliminate. Future research should therefore take care to avoid these pitfalls.
Dark tourism is a growing source of tourism revenues, although this has done little to generate more innovative studies of the topic. The purpose of this research has been three-fold: 1 to outline the differences between dark and heritage tourism, and how this contributes to negative perceptions of the former over the latter; 2 examine the complex nature of dark tourism in the context of globalization, authenticity, and eco-social systems; and, 3 draw together points one and two to identify the current failure of researchers to advance current understandings of dark tourism.
There is the possibility that, as a self-sustaining and self-perpetuating system, dark tourism management may collapse and reorganize into a new form. It is argued that innovative new research may be better served by anticipating change in perspectives i. This research is critical because of the emergence of dark tourism as a nascent tourism form, which has the potential to be shaped by new ideas and information. It is at this point in time that researchers should be stepping away from their focus on the minute, intricate details of definitions.
They should be reflexively examining their own biases, and merging into dark tourism new ideas from multiple disciplines and perspectives. Future research should strive to avoid semantic attachments between words and theories, consider the broader context and mitigating factors of dark tourism, and include also a consideration of its future evolution as a dynamic, multi-faceted term. Ashworth, G. Tourism and the heritage of atrocity: Managing the heritage of South African apartheid for entertainment.
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The Dracula Dilemma: Tourism, Identity and the State in Romania
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