I live in the UK and this week being the 100th annivesary of the titanic sinking there has been to my mind to coverage of the event also earlier in the month there was the Scott Antartic Mission.
There were programmes about tours of the Harland Wolf shipyard in Belfast where the ship was built.The criuse of the Balmoral following the titanics route and stopping at the point of the sinking for a service. I realise some aboard are relatives of passengers and crew and have no problem with a memorial service but as part of a tourism package it seems a bit of a non-holiday experience.
I wonder do hubbers in other parts of the world notice a trend in what I have termed "Misery Tourism" in thier countries.
There's a famous grave yard in the centre of Buenos Aires where Evita is buried. This could certainly be classed as 'misery tourism' and it's exceptionally popular with tourists.
Yes I can see both sides of the graveyard thing. In some a cases a pilgrimage for followers and on the other hand the human condition that wants to see how others ended up.
There was a news piece on the BBC last night on the phenomenon, which they referred to as 'Dark Tourism' and apparently there has been a centre set up to study this
There's something deeply stirring and contemplative being around places of mass death. Especially so for battlefields and POW camps like the big one in Georgia, Andersonville National Historic site. Some visitors in the tour buses who are sensitive to their surroundings get psychically ill there according to a Park employee. Others have a morbid curiosity and some are reflective or just fascinated.
There are probably as many reasons for these visits as there are types of people. A friend of mine was not too impressed when I dragged her around the torture museum in Carcassonne, but I am genuinely interested in the history of the Cathars and the the Albigensian Crusade, and so to see some of these instruments and learn more about their history and uses was both fascinating and gave further insight into the suffering that these people went through just because they had a different set of beliefs from the ruling Catholic Church.
I don't think that it is wise to airbrush history if we want to learn from it, and most of us if we are honest do have a slightly ghoulish interest in such things
I have on my travels come across battlefields sites and reflected for a moment on the outcome. However, I cannot not see myself buying a tour package to the killing fields of cambodia or a polish death camp.
The criuse of the MS Balmoral and hte tours of Harland and Wolf were directly marketed as tourism.
A trip to the Killing Fields of Cambodia is definitely a popular misery tourism. Even a trip to Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC can be classified as misery tourism when a new coffin arrives and is getting a burial.
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