The ethical implications of dark tourism by examining the motivations and impacts on visitors and host communities
How to promote and manage dark tourism sites
Dark tourism (morbid tourism or grief tourism) has been defined as tourism involving travel to places historically associated with death and tragedy.
Dark tourism involves visiting real places related to death, suffering, and disgrace.
These include battlefields, prisons, cemeteries, genocide memorials, torture centers, accidents, etc.
Examples of potential dark tourist sites in Uganda
The Idi Amina torture chambers (Kampala)
Kibwetere iterno (kanungu)
World war memorial sites in Kampala
Luwero triangle in central Uganda (where many people died during the NRA liberation war)
Namugongo martyrs shrine (though it was inter-dominated by religious tourism)
Idi Amin’s mutilation center at the Nakasero State Lodge in Kampala could be a dark tourist site.
Other famous sites elsewhere
Genocide memorials in Rwanda (gitarama, Kigali, gichumbi, Gisenyi)
Ground zero in New York (sept all attack).
World War II etc.
The following are the reasons why travelers are motivated to visit the various destinations related to death and tragedy.
Education purposes especially for the history students in places like Idi Amin torture chambers and genocide memorials in Kigali.
Filming and documentary purposes have also motivated travelers especially content creators, and filmmakers, to travel to places like the Rwandan genocide memorials, ground zero in New York, Mutima Beach in Mukono, etc. Religious motivations like performing pilgrimages, and special prayers cannot go unmentioned in the motivation for dark tourism
Festivals and events have also motivated travelers to visit places related to tragedy and death.
Some of the events have included Halloween
Research purposes are also a motivation for dark tourism
Remembrance cannot go unmentioned as motivation, many travelers visit places associated with accidents, or tragedies to simply remember the victims, there might have been friends, relatives, or some important figures.
The need to know personal genealogy and family history is yet another motivation
The ethical implications of dark tourism: Emotional experiences especially the torture chamber, and the genocide memorials celebrating heroes, and martyrs like the Namugongo martyrs shine.
Love for adventure
The feeling of guilt.
Search for social responsibility
Exploits human suffering as operators may use these sites to make money
Some dark tourism sites in Africa are designed to entertain rather than to educate. this can come off as disrespectful towards the victims and could be considered exploitation a case in point is the shooting range in Nakasongola (Uganda)
Dark tourism site may spread misinformation some site is presented with a bias. This is often done for political purposes. Countries spread information to make them look like good or bad guys. a case in point is the torture chamber where lies are being told against Idi Amin Dada, the Ground Zero in New York
Some sites water down or whitewash part of history
Some visitors have wrong intentions
Inappropriate conduct at dark tourism sites may include excitement
Dark tourism may support the wrong people, not the victims
Desecration of the site leads to disrespect for the victims of the disaster
Source of income to guide site managers
Source of forex used to set up government projects like hospitals, schools, hospitals, these towns also after accommodation.
Diversification of the economy by not only depending on the other sectors of the economy.
Education purposes promote research.
Promoted entertainment and wants like the Halloween festivals.
Attracted more visitors both domestic and inbound who give in revenue used to set up social services
Preservation of culture and heritage
- b) how to promote dark tourism sites
documenting the site, this can be done by tourism content creators.
Marketing the destinations, via social media, and television.
Organizing farm trips to these places
Publishing the stories behind these places to attract visitors to these places.