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Travel and Tourism in Places of Socio-political Turmoil

This wider project is situated within a new interdisciplinary strand of dark tourism, critical marketing, cultural and heritage studies, focusing on places of ongoing socio-political turmoil and conflicts. Its academic context draws on concepts of dark tourism and contested cultural heritage, including considerations of travel to such places, motivated by interest in heritage, culture and history. Academically, the project synthesizes findings to deliver theoretical and methodological innovations, and advances critical marketing and consumer behaviour theory in tourism and emotions in turmoil places, along with novel methodological perspectives on multi-sited transnational tourism ethnography.

An under-researched form of tourism is to places of ongoing turmoil, tumultuous areas where there is at least an imagined potential of violent eruptions. This is despite the fact that UN World Tourism Organization statistics show that tourists value travel to regions of ongoing turmoil while local tourism industries in those regions invest in attracting tourists. For instance in 2018, international tourist arrivals increased: in Israel by 14.1%, Lebanon by 5.8%, Palestine by 20.5%, Tunisia by 17.7%, Azerbaijan by 10.5%, and in Nepal by 24.8%. Tourism destinations in emerging economies – usually located in regions of active socio-political turmoil – currently welcome 597 million international tourists annually, forecasted to increase to 1,037 million by 2030, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO, 2019).

With tourism forecasted to recover during 2021-2022, according to UN World Tourism Organisation this project will continue to analyse issues such as ethical marketing and consumer behaviour, as well as safe and sustainable travel. In-depth knowledge of crisis preparedness and communications for increased resilience in tourism in areas of active socio-political turmoil are ever more pressing.

The focus is on the emotional dynamics experienced by consumers such as tourists and local tourism sector stakeholders in areas in turmoil adopting a multi-sited transnational ethnographic approach. The Principal Investigator conducts research in countries such Jordan, Israel, and Palestinian Territories as they share geo-political connections and disconnections linked to on-going turmoil and still welcome increasing numbers of international visitors. Other colleagues affiliated with this wider project examine (1) marketing of troubles tourism in Northern Ireland; (2) affective financial decision-making in times of turmoil focusing on street food investors in the UK; (3) socio-spatial complexity in times of turmoil in the Netherlands; (4) affective tourism in places of death and disaster.

As it develops, this wider project is able to make policy recommendations to inform marketing of tourism, tourism planning and development in turmoil places in culturally sustainable ways, especially in connection to crisis preparedness and communications for increased resilience for consumers.

More details can also be found here

For enquiries about this project, please contact:

Research Monograph: Buda, D.M. (2015). Affective Tourism: Dark Routes in Conflict. London, UK, Routledge.

  1. Ivanova, M., & Buda, D.M. (2020). Thinking Rhizomatically About Communist Heritage Tourism. Annals of Tourism Research. [4* CABS/IF5.1689*]
  2. Prayag, G., Buda, D. M., & Jordan, E. J. (2020). Mortality salience and meaning in life for residents visiting dark tourism sites. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 1-21. [3* CABS/IF 3.329*]
  3. Meekes, J., Buda, D.M., & Roo, G. (2019). Socio-spatial Complexity in Leisure Development. Annals of Tourism Research, Volume 80, January 2020, 102814.
  4. Martini, A., & Buda, D.M. (2018). Dark tourism and affect: Framing places of death and disaster. Current Issues in Tourism. PP. 1-14.
  5. Martini, A., & Buda, D.M. (2018). Analysing affects and emotions in tourist e-mail interviews: A case in post-disaster Tohoku, Japan. Current Issues in Tourism 22:19, PP. 2353-2364.
  6. Buda, D.M., Martini, A., & Biran, A. (2017). Dark Tourism. The SAGE International Encyclopaedia of Travel and Tourism edited by Linda Lowry, J. & Geoffrey Golson.
  7. Isaac, R. K. & Buda, D.M. (2017). Palestinian Tourism. The SAGE International Encyclopaedia of Travel and Tourism edited by Linda Lowry, J. & Geoffrey Golson.
  8. Biran, A. & Buda, D.M. (2017). Unravelling Fear of Death Motives in Dark Tourism. The Palgrave Handbook of Dark Tourism Studies.
  9. Buda, D. M. (2015). Tourism in Conflict Areas: Complex Entanglements in Jordan. Journal of Travel Research, pp. 1-12, doi: 10.1177/0047287515601253.
  10. Buda, D.M. & Shim, D. (2014). Desiring the dark: ‘A taste for the unusual’ in North Korean tourism? Current Issues in Tourism, 18(1), pp. 1-6, doi:10.1080/13683500.2014.948813