Edited by Dallen J. Timothy
Chapter 12: Tourism and war: global perspectives
Even for mainstream tourism, the relationship between touristic practices and war is complex. Just as present conflict can discourage travel to a destination, many destinations are founded on relics and narratives of past battles. “Real-time” war tourists are a niche group for which the presence or proximity of conflict is an enticement, rather than a deterrent. These tourists have various motivations, such as a desire to obtain first-hand knowledge of the conflict situation rather than relying on media narratives, experiencing the thrill of danger, understanding the stories of those impacted by violence or, most problematically, viewing conflict as a spectacle for their entertainment. Tour operators cater to all of these proclivities, offering a range of more or less explicitly war-themed products. Though war-torn countries are in need of the financial benefits that tourism brings, ethical considerations are raised for both tourists and operators, considering the implications of benefiting in tangible or intangible ways from the hardships of others. All of these real-time war tourism practices can be understood in terms of different relationships to risk – some seeking out risk for its own sake and others seeking to gain knowledge or experiences of the conflict situation while mitigating risk to themselves.
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