Tourism development and contested communities.

Causevic, Senija and Lynch, Paul (2008) Tourism development and contested communities. Espaces

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Dark tourism is defined as “visitation to places where tragedies or historically noteworthy death has occurred and that continue to impact our lives” Tarlow, 2005:48). Inherently, dark tourism conceptualises the consequence of a long-term conflict. This paper addresses the area of dark tourism in this context, an area which has received relatively little attention by scholars so far, focusing on its relevance to social reconciliation and urban regeneration in a re-emerging tourism economy in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The fieldwork follows a qualitative methodological approach required in order to gather complex information concerning the issue of dark tourism in a post-conflict society. It involves in-depth interviews with tourism decision makers and tour providers as well as participant observation of the tours and sites in Northern Ireland. Dark tourism as an academic concept ascription, rarely enjoys support from governing bodies, official tourism associations and local communities in each specific society. This research points to a polarised understanding of the concept between academic and developed societies on one side, and tourism destination stakeholders on the other, who assess the concept as being detrimental in the process of destination-image-formation which tends to occur after a political conflict. Excluding a small niche segment, this study finds that, in actual fact, dark tourism is not a motivator for visiting the destinations. Yet once tourists are there, most of them would pay a visit to dark tourism sites. Therefore, dark tourism is not a part of the process of image-formation after a conflict. The study instead suggests “phoenix tourism” as an image formation tool, going on to argue that phoenix tourism is not a tourism niche by itself. Phoenix tourism signifies a process of rebuilding, remaking and reconciliation in a post-conflict setting with dark tourism forming a part of that process.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management > Business, Enterprise & Management
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2010 09:44
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2017 15:39


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