Header from Chris Lloyd
Dark Tourism (noun) –
Tourism that involves travelling to places associated with death and suffering.
When Chris emailed me asking if I’d like to watch his short film about the subject of Dark Tourism, I jumped at the chance. As a film student, I always love getting to watch new works. Not only that, but I found the subject of the film to be fascinating. And with the recent tragedy at Grenfell Tower, which could potentially become a dark tourism spot in years to come, I’m thinking it’s become all the more relevant.
I would say I’m guilty of buying into dark tourism. Or at least wanting to buy into it. I’ve only ever been abroad once, and it was on a school trip to France. On the way back we stopped off at a World War 2 memorial garden. Until then I hadn’t really thought about visiting places like this. Places where people have died due to tragedies that have happened in our history. But after this I found myself fascinated with these kinds of places. Most people want to go on holiday to somewhere that’s hot with a nice beach, but not me. Visiting Pompeii, Auschwitz, Ground Zero, Anne Frank’s house and many more places of the like are all on my bucket list.
My pull to dark tourism doesn’t stop there, either. In Chris’ film he visits a “Crime Through Time” museum. These are also the kind of things I’d like to visit.
But why? Why would I want to go visit these places filled with tragedy?
For me, it’s not for the attention. It’s not to get loads of likes on a photo on Instagram (of course, I’d take a photo, but it wouldn’t be with the sole purpose of getting likes). My yearning to visit places like this is due to my love for history and being eager to learn about what happened there. Equally so, my wanting to visit crime museums isn’t because I get off in hearing all the violent ways people have been killed, but more because I enjoy learning about the ways forensics has evolved and helps catch the perpetrators of these crimes. For me, it’s purely an intellectual thing for me, rather than just some morbid fascination.
In my GCSE history class, my teacher has numerous quotes about history stuck on the walls. But there’s only one that I remember because it really, truly stuck with me.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana.
It stuck with me because I agreed with it. And I still do. If we don’t take a moment to remember these tragedy’s that happened (especially the ones that affect the whole world), then someone out there will be doomed to repeat the same mistakes. And that’s why, in a way, I believe Dark Tourism can be somewhat of a necessity.
Of course, there are ways to go about it. I’m not saying we should all pull a Justin Bieber and write something completely inappropriate in the book at the Anne Frank house. Nor am I saying that it’s okay for you to be taking smiley selfies. There’s a time and a place for that, and it’s certainly not at the sites of major tragedies. If you’re visiting these places just for the instagram likes, then you are there for the wrong reasons.
Other than that, I’d say dark tourism is, in most cases, harmless. It’s getting into touch with the worlds modern history, and opening people’s eyes to it. And I kind of think that’s a good thing.
Chris film “Trips To Tradgedy: Dark Tourism” is available to watch on youtube HERE. If you’re fascinated about the subject of dark tourism, or enjoy film documentaries then I highly suggest you give it a watch. It’s very interesting, incredibly well researched, and brilliantly made.
*This is not a sponsored post. I was contacted by Chris with the opportunity to watch the film and write a piece on it. However, there was no monetary compensation. All views are still my own.*