ETHICAL/ Disaster Tourism Getting Popular

New Orleans post-Katrina, flood-hit Thailand, volcanic ash in Iceland – they all represent places of disaster and suffering for many people. Yet, they have become popular tourist attractions. Why?


Natural Disasters: An Eco-Tourism Tool?

Anna Luebke

In 1951, Kirk Douglas starred in a B movie titled The Big Carnival (originally released as Ace in the Hole). I saw it as a kid, many years later, when the trend was to play old movies on TV on Saturday afternoons. In the flick, Kirk plays a former big-city journalist on the downside of his career. Stuck writing for a small Albuquerque newspaper, he needs that one, big story to put him back on top. When a local miner gets trapped in a collapse, Kirk sees his opportunity. His first article about t...

Chernobyl as the Most Exotic Destination

Joe McClain

Twenty five years ago the USSR nuclear energy triumph turned out to be a failure and the biggest technological catastrophe in human history. On the 26th of April, 1986 at 1:24 am the Reactor No 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded. The cloud of radioactive elements – 500 times bigger than the one after the Hiroshima bombing – rose 1 km into the sky and eventually reached the USA, Japan and Australia. Chernobyl and Pripyat are the two towns that suffered the most from the nuclear me...

'Disaster Tourism' in Post-Katrina New Orleans Special

Tourism Review News Desk

It's the train-wreck you cannot look away from, or the car accident that makes you slow down despite your better judgment telling you not to be that person. Except in New Orleans, post-Katrina, the event is more than a car accident: it's the entire city. My partner and I traveled to the American South this past summer for three weeks. Through 14 American states we drove, trying like so many other travelers to visit attractions large and small off the beaten path, or eat in places that the gui...

The Grimsvotn Volcano Eruption: Come to Iceland!

Michael Trout

Icelandair, the island nation's national carrier, has been quick to put on a happy face in the wake of the eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano. Within a few days the airline sent out a press release to journalists encouraging coverage of the crisis – and the clean-up operation. "Most of the country," Icelandair assured us, has been "totally unaffected by the volcanic ash." In fact, the airline seemed to be encouraging foreigners to visit the country as soon as possible, lest they miss out...

Japan: Residents of Tsunami-hit Town Plan Disaster Tourism

William Law

A group of residents is using what little is left in their tsunami-devastated town of Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture, to raise funds through tourism. Keiichi Abe, 43, who heads the group, and other members were discussing how they can make money on their own, without relying on outside assistance, when they concluded that the only choice was to use the tsunami-hit town itself as a tourist center. The group, called Oraga Otsuchi Yume Hiroba Sozo Iinkai, outlined its business plans at the end of Septem...