Travel to conflict areas, hot spots and historical locations where ‘dark’ events took place is a phenomenon that has hardly received any research attention. However, huge numbers of tourists are involved, on whom the trips can act in an emotional or therapeutic way, or lead to more self-awareness. Dorina Buda studies this type of travel, known as ‘dark tourism’. This summer she was awarded a Veni grant, and her latest book, Affective Tourism: Dark Routes in Conflict appeared recently.
Hundreds of thousands of people are currently fleeing areas affected by war, natural disasters or poverty. At the same time, locations where terrible events have taken or are taking place are generating enormous interest and fascination. Every year, many tourists visit the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars, Auschwitz and Ground Zero in New York. Conflict regions, such as the Gaza Strip and North Korea, are also attracting visitors who want to experience the tension and threat in an emotional way. Their presence also has an influence on the local population and the conflict itself. All of these aspects are incorporated in Buda’s research on ‘dark tourism’.
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