Hi I’m Zoe Graham. I am one of the international journalism postgrads from University College Falmouth and am helping to produce the WHYS programme today with the rest of the team.
‘Disaster Tourism’ is the term given to a type of tourism that is associated with death, tragedy and suffering.
Call it morbid fascination if you like: the human desire to bear witness to suffering. To experience, first hand, the most frightening and painful aspects of human existence: natural disasters, destruction, genocide, slavery.
Many see it as being a way to show compassion to people who have suffered and empathise with their experiences. One travel blogger says it differs from recreational tourism, which offers entertainment. “It is a multi-dimensional experience that can have a deep impact on your life”.
But what about when people do treat it as entertainment? Where is the line drawn between treating others with respect or turning their misery into a spectacle?
Can this kind of tourism be an important source of income for distaster and poverty-stricken areas, which they desperately need?
The Haitian government is currently urging people to visit the country and help the Haiti earthquake victims. Whilst tankers filled with aid were arriving in Port-au-Prince, luxury cruise ships were docking at beaches mere miles away.
Would you go?