Dark tourism is increasing in popularity world-wide and websites are an important means to communicate with target markets. This paper discusses an exploratory qualitative content analysis of websites from several countries and ranging from the darker offerings such as holocaust museums and battlefields, to lighter options such as ghost tours or curated museums of the macabre. Twenty-five websites from several countries and ranging between ‘light’ to ‘dark’ on the Dark Tourism Spectrum were evaluated. The websites were examined for written content, pre-planning for trip information, images, links to other resources, functional elements (such as navigation, transaction and purchase capability), tone, creativity and customer review abilities. Findings reveal a wide variability in websites over several dimensions. Recommendations include that dark tourism websites contain appropriate editorial and visual content about their offering, provide transaction capability and promote early engagement through interest and involvement in the site and opportunity for user generated content. Future research suggested is evaluating be category; looking specifically at museums, battlefields or memorials for example. Additionally, analysis by specific countries or regions may be of value to determine if national culture or other factors such as political influences affect the nature of dark tourism websites.
Carruthers, J., & Krisjanous, J. (2015, July). An exploratory content analysis of dark tourism websites. Paper presented at Academy of Marketing: The Magic of Marketing (2015)