Dereliction tourism

Friday, 22 March 2019

Dereliction tourism can turn up one’s nose, because seeking abandoned locations and promoting their touristic traffic are actions that entail significant ethical implications.

The ethical implications are debated, among the others, by Alice Mah*, Professor of Sociology of the University of Warwick (United Kingdom), on a focus titled “The Dereliction Tourist: Ethical Issues of Conducting Research in Areas of Industrial Ruination”.

These ethical implications involve also other tourism typologies. Let’s think to slum tourism and to dark tourism (the tourism of macabre destinations involved with death and destruction).

It is moral to promote the touristic traffic of the abandoned factories in Detroit, of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, of Ground Zero in New York? That’s the basic question and that’s why the dereliction tourism, slum tourism and dark tourism could turn up one’s nose (actually, every form of tourism brings some questions with it, but let’s go ahead).


The tourism of abandoned destinations could turn up one’s nose, but it’s a reality; and for sure you, a guarantee of added value for your clients, won’t close your eyes in front of it, because you work hard every day in order to learn more about the trends and the development of the market travel.

Your added value means also to choose if dealing or not with a specific typology of travel and to suggest to the clients proposals measured on their sensibility.


There are abandoned destinations that are already protagonists of touristic promotions. For example, it’s the case of Bodie (California) and other American ghost towns suggested by Visit the USA. It’s also the case of Craco, a ghost town in the Province of Matera, suggested by Basilicata Turistica and the one about we talked on the focus titled The world is beautiful because it’s strange.

There are abandoned destinations galore. Through the sources to refer to, we point you out again Atlas Obscura and, specifically, the section Abandoned and Ghost towns.

A final note, before saying goodbye. If you already searched online for discovering abandoned locations, you probably bumped upon the so-called Urban Exploration, an activity that «involves various risk factors, from the physical danger to the possibility of breaking the law, with related finantial and criminal sanctions». So, suggest to your clients always safe and usable abandoned places.

Enjoy your work with 6tour!

*The Dereliction Tourist: Ethical Issues Conducting Research in Areas of Industrial Ruination

Sociological Research Online, 2014

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