Light, D. (2017) Progress in dark tourism and thanatourism research: An uneasy relationship with heritage tourism, Tourism Management, 61, 275-301
This paper reviews academic research into dark tourism and thanatourism over the 1996e2016 period.
The aims of this paper are threefold. First, it reviews the evolution of the concepts of dark tourism and
thanatourism, highlighting similarities and differences between them. Second it evaluates progress in 6
key themes and debates. These are: issues of the definition and scope of the concepts; ethical issues
associated with such forms of tourism; the political and ideological dimensions of dark tourism and
thanatourism; the nature of demand for places of death and suffering; the management of such places;
and the methods of research used for investigating such tourism. Third, research gaps and issues that
demand fuller scrutiny are identified. The paper argues that two decades of research have not
convincingly demonstrated that dark tourism and thanatourism are distinct forms of tourism, and in
many ways they appear to be little different from heritage tourism.