The Demand Side of Dark Tourism – Characteristics of Dark Tourists
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- Studentoppgaver (SV-NHS) 
Dark tourism, or thanatourism, is a type of tourism concerning using ‘death space’ for tourism purposes. The general goal of dark tourism research is to identify, describe and analyze tourism journeys to death space. There are several researches and typologies done concerning dark tourism, but not much for the issue of dark tourists so far. This paper presents a qualitative study conducted on tourists visiting places connected with war or death. The research is based on semi-structured interviews. The theoretical bases for research are Tourism Motivation Theory and Decision Making Theory, the common point of those two being Destination Image. The model underlying the research is actually based on Destination Image, and four concepts relevant for a study were adapted from it: Motivation, Perception, Experience, and Personal Characteristics. The study was exploratory and aimed to provide some insights about dark tourists. The results were analyzed using thematic codding a priori and case studies. During the analysis two more concepts were discovered as relevant for the study: Decision making and Future Plans. The inductive method of reasoning was chosen for the study, which means that no assumptions about results were made in advance. Results of the qualitative analyses show the remarkable meaning of curiosity, search for novelty, and historical interests in dark tourists’ motivation. Findings show that not all destinations which are “dark” according to tourism theory are actually dark in tourists’ perception. Moreover, the majority of tourists refuse to consider themselves as dark tourists, even if according to the existing theory they are “death tourists”. Contributions of the study are then discussed, together with suggestions on future research.
Master's thesis in International Hospitality Management