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‘Morbid Tourism’ searches on the rise amongst UK holidaymakers

‘Morbid Tourism’ searches on the rise amongst UK holidaymakers

One of the leading online independent travel agencies in the UK has experienced a rise in ‘morbid tourism’ searches and enquiries; more specifically, queries about holidays to locations linked to tragedies, mass genocides and natural disasters.

Whilst most people’s idea of a holiday involves sun, sea and sand, others have a slightly different idea when it comes to getting away. One of the UK’s leading online independent travel agencies has revealed how it has seen an increase in searches onsite and enquiries surrounding ‘morbid tourism’. noted a rise in ‘morbid tourism’ searches over the past year; more specifically, enquires or searches via the website about places and scenes of natural disasters, mass genocides or other tragedies.

Amongst the most morbid tourism searches were enquiries about hotels near ‘Ground Zero,’ the site of the 9/11 attacks, Alcatraz in San Francisco and, more recently, Giglio in Italy; the scene of the Costa Concordia sinking. looked at all possible destinations that, when visited, could be considered as ‘morbid tourism’ and compared searches for these places in 2010 to 2011. When looking into the site statistics, it was found that there had been a 62% increase in general ‘morbid tourism’ destination searches from 2010 to 2011.


The team at pulled together a list of the most common ‘morbid tourism’ searches and enquiries on-site, which turned out to be;

1.    Ground zero – site of 9/11 in New York
2.    Auschwitz – concentration camp, Poland
3.    Alcatraz – prison, San Francisco
4.    Pompeii – Italy
5.    Omaha and Utah beaches – D-Day invasion scenes, France
6.    Killing fields – Cambodia
7.    New Orleans – Site of Hurricane Katrina disaster, USA
8.    Chernobyl – Nuclear disaster site, Ukraine
9.    Giglio, Italy – scene of the Costa Concordia disaster
10.  Haiti – site of devastating earthquake

Chris Brown, co-founder of, spoke about the growing trend of ‘morbid tourism’;

“Often, when people seek a holiday, they’re looking for more than just a nice, clean beach to lay their heads whilst the waves crash on the shore. For many, it’s about visiting places of interest, cities seeping history and culture and those with a dark past. Topping up your tan and lounging by the pool is all good fun, but may be boring for some.

“I can see why some of the places in the list would appeal to tourists, particularly Auschwitz and Alcatraz which are so widely known and Ground Zero, where people can pay their respects. However, I think it’s a bit shocking that some are looking towards the scene of the Costa Concordia disaster and even Haiti for a holiday opportunity. Whilst it’s a shame that the once innocent destinations are now associated with such tragedy, a little sensitivity should be shown.”