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Students explore ‘dark tourism’ in Berlin

Berlin Tuesday 30 January 2018

Berlin’s growing reputation as a site for ‘dark tourism’ was explored by students who travelled to the German city on a five-day fieldtrip.

As part of the second year Explorations in Tourism course, a group of 13 students explored east Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall memorial, East Side Gallery, the Reichstag and the DDR Museum.

Dr Josh Blamire, who led the trip, said: “The course is designed to examine the dynamic nature of tourism and tourists themselves, and covers recent changes and developments within the industry. This includes consideration of new and emerging forms of tourism and tourist behaviour. Of particular interest for this trip was Berlin’s relevance as a site of dark tourism, which refers to the growing popularity of tourist sites associated with death, violence and terror.

“The main aim of the trip was to critically evaluate the authenticity of dark tourism attractions/sites and the dark tourism experience in Berlin, which is a city with its own turbulent history. With an assignment focused on this very question, students visited a range of tourist sites in the city and were asked to consider the competing motivations to visit Berlin’s dark tourism attractions, the different types of dark tourism attractions on offer, and the links to other new forms of tourism.

“There can be no doubt the trip was thoroughly enjoyed by all, despite the perishing cold of the German winter. On their return, students were unanimous in their desire to return to the city, albeit perhaps holding it off until the summer next time!”

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