Holiday Accidents, Disaster Sites, and the Rise of Dark Tourism
Accidents abroad are an underestimated hazard and the highest overall cause of tourist death. It comes as no surprise therefore that more and more UK holidaymakers are taking trips to so called disaster sites and even scenes of historical massacres.
The fascination of seeing the aftermath of events that are pivotal in our world’s history is becoming a focus for mainstream tourism providers. Global tragedies are providing triggers for voyeuristic travel.
The Attraction of Death and Disaster
Trips to disasters sites such as the crash site in Taipei following TranAsia Airways flight GE-235, Fukushima, and the site of ground Costa Concordia have become popular tourist destinations in recent times.
These places where many unfortunate people lost their lives are now background locations for crass selfies and vulgar holiday snaps. Visiting scenes of such well publicised accidents may seem inappropriate to many holidaymakers, but this form of ‘dark tourism’ appears to be on the increase.
Simon Lomax, Simpson Millar’s Holiday Accident and Illness manager says:
“My colleagues and I spend hundreds of hours pursuing personal injury claims for those unfortunate enough to suffer injuries following accidents on holiday. Whilst I can understand the historical and educational benefit of visiting sites such as Aushchwitz and the D-Day invasion beaches, visiting recent scenes of death and disaster does not sit right.
“There appears to be a massive market for witnessing human sorrow, and entrepreneurs are exploiting this. From the site of the Costa Concordia accident to the devastation left by 50 foot waves at Minamisanriku, the plight of those less fortunate appear to make some people feel better about themselves.
“Is this a form of curiosity, a desire to empathise with the victims and their families or simply a morbid opportunity to partake in a unique experience?”
Top Sites for Dark Tourisms
- New York – Ground Zero
- Auschwitz concentration camp
- D-day beaches – Omaha and Utah beaches
Accidents on Holiday
Fortunately, accident and injuries caused by the extreme events detailed above are uncommon and rarely affect UK travellers. The holidays sold by UK companies are reasonably safe and transport and accommodation is routinely checked by UK health and safety teams.
Simon continues to say:
“Most injuries sustained abroad are the result pressures of having a good time and a disregard for inconvenient safety rules and common sense. These pressures and the absence of the usual constraints of home and work often result in more reckless behaviour by holidaymakers.”