'Morbid Tourism' Searches on the Rise Amongst UK Holidaymakers

Posted by Sue Anderson, 28th Feb 2012

Whilst most people's idea of a holiday abroad involves sun, sea and sand, others have a slightly different idea when it comes to getting away; or so it would seem! We've seen an increase in searches and enquiries onsite surrounding 'morbid tourism'; more specifically, enquires or searches via the website about places and scenes of natural disasters, mass genocides or other tragedies.

Statistics showed searches for hotels near locations such as 'Ground Zero' and Alcatraz

Amongst the most morbid tourism searches were enquiries about hotels near 'Ground Zero', the site of the 9/11 attacks, Alcatraz in San Francisco and, more recently, Giglio in Italy; the scene of the Costa Concordia sinking.

We looked at all possible destinations that, when visited, could be considered as 'morbid tourism' and compared searches for these places in 2010 to 2011. We found that there had been a 62% increase in general 'morbid tourism' destination searches from 2010 to 2011.

As a result of the statistics, we pulled together a list of the most common 'morbid tourism' searches and enquiries on-site, which turned out to be;

1. Ground zero - site of 9/11 in New York

2. Auschwitz - concentration camp, Poland

3. Alcatraz - prison, San Francisco

4. Pompeii - Italy

5. Omaha and Utah beaches - D-Day invasion scenes, France

6. Killing fields - Cambodia

7. New Orleans - Site of Hurricane Katrina disaster, USA

8. Chernobyl - Nuclear disaster site, Ukraine

9. Giglio, Italy - scene of the Costa Concordia disaster

10. Haiti - site of devastating earthquake

A lot of people go on holiday for the cultural element, but specifically searching for morbid destinations is taking it to a whole new level!

It's clear why some of the places in the list would appeal to tourists, particularly Auschwitz and Alcatraz which are so widely known and Ground Zero, where people can pay their respects. However, we were very surprised to find that people were searching for holidays in the area of the Costa Concordia disaster and Haiti. Whilst it's a shame that the once innocent destinations are now associated with such tragedy, a little sensitivity should be shown.
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