The phenomenon of dark tourism may be the subject of a fresh Kiwi-made Netflix series.
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Touching a corpse, diving for cover in a warzone and communicating with Pablo Escobar’s most trusted assassin may not quite your average holiday.
But for former TV3 reporter David Farrier, who famously explored the competitive world of endurance tickling in the documentary Tickled, it’s like the odd worlds he’s grown familiar with.
His new series Dark Tourist explores the proper execution of tourism amid a growth in people booking holidays with a dark side – but one expert is warning there is a fine line between respect and sensationalism.
Tourism professor Michael Luck says dark tourism ‘s been around quite a long time actually.
“People always happen to be certain dark sites for several reasons, but to trace relatives mostly,” he said.
Visiting respects at historical sites sometimes appears within a Kiwi overseas experience.
Visits to Auschwitz in Poland have passed 1 now. each year 7 million people, while Ground Zero recorded 4.5 million visitors in its first year and also Chernobyl in the Ukraine has seen visitor numbers increase sixfold since 2012.
But did it far be studied too?
Mr Luck says if you touch a dead body, that’s crossing the relative line – and nothing related to tourism.
And the rise in social media marketing is actually a factor also.
London’s Grenfell Tower where 72 people died is currently a tourist hotspot, where locals want to stop people taking selfies constantly, Mr Luck says.
“It certainly will not match with entertainment, and I believe that isn’t necessarily a very important thing – especially not if it involves things like social media marketing hits.”
Closer to home, the Buried Village of Te Wairoa, the wreck of the Rainbow post-earthquake and Warrior Christchurch have all been suggested as dark tourism hotspots.
And David Farrier at the very least sees an upside.
“I am forced out of my safe place, and somehow it’s made me feel more content to be alive,” he says.
Dark Tourist will undoubtedly be on Netflix from Friday.