With “dark tourism” on the rise, here is a round-up of some of the newest products offered by UK tour operators.
Dark tourism – travelling to places historically associated with a disaster or human tragedy – is on the rise, fuelled by the influence of television shows such as HBO’s Chernobyl and Netflix’s Dark Tourist.
While some have questioned the ethics of travelling to such locations, Emma Garrick, senior product and commercial manager at Exodus, believes dark tourism can educate and raise awareness.
“Dark tourism is an important way of opening people’s minds to historical events they may not have been aware of,” she says. “This enriches people’s knowledge and ensures this part of history is not forgotten.”
Here we round up new dark tourism product.
Since mini-series Chernobyl aired in 2019, tourists have been flocking to this Ukrainian ghost city, which was left abandoned in 1986 following an explosion in the nuclear power station.
Exodus Travels has launched a Chernobyl & Kiev Long Weekend trip to the Exclusion Zone, which includes a permit enabling clients to visit the power station’s reactor hall and control room.
Exodus product manager Marta Marinelli says: “Chernobyl was the site of a terrible tragedy, and we aim to make sure those who want to visit and to learn about the area’s history and heritage can do so respectfully. We have chosen a trusted local partner to run the Chernobyl excursion, who will ensure the tour is conducted in an ethical manner.”
The itinerary includes time to explore the abandoned amusement parks, hospitals and schools of the area, as well as a night in the 19-mile exclusion zone that surrounds the blast radius.
“Ensure clients have fully read our trip notes and useful information so they know what to expect in terms of safe radiation exposure, safety rules and essential packing list,” advises Marinelli.
A bloody civil war, which raged from 1975 to 1990, saw Lebanon plagued by massacres, sieges and bombings.
Keen to showcase how Lebanon has moved on, Saga has launched a nine-day tour, Lebanon: Pearl of the Middle East.
Ellis Manning, Saga’s product and purchasing executive, says: “It’s a modern country bouncing back after the civil war and is welcoming tourists. Our guests will have the opportunity to experience its Mediterranean coastline, mountain ranges, local wine and Roman architecture.”
Beginning in Beirut, clients will visit the National Museum and Mohammad Al-Amin Blue Mosque, while rural adventures include a tour of Unesco Biosphere-designated Chouf Cedar reserve.