Understanding tourist’s motivation and understanding at Dark Tourism sites: the instance of Auschwitz-Birkenau
This paper arose from a research project conducted across the UK, The Czech Republic and Poland, looking to uncover people’s motivations and their experiences at dark tourism sites, with a particular focus on Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Currently this is an area of study with limited research (Sharpley & Stone, 2009), thus this paper looks to explore the drivers and experiences that millions of people are involved in to gain original insights into this little explored area of dark tourism research. The data used was gathered via various methodologies: an ethnographic study; questionnaires; and, literature review. A mixed methods approach was used in order to reveal key strands and provide insight and analysis of tourist motivations and visitor experiences.The findings uncovered the lack of awareness of dark tourism amongst respondents, a surprising result given the media coverage on the matter in recent years (Stone, 2012) Yet despite this, the findings revealed people’s motivations to visit these sites came from their own “curiosity”, why this is the case is an area for future work, which this study forms the foundation for.