Sought experiences at (Dark) heritage sites
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Authors: Biran, A., Poria, Y. and Oren, G.
Journal: Annals of Tourism Research
Current literature on dark tourism largely follows a supply perspective, almost ignoring the tourist experience. Focusing on Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp (here after Auschwitz), the epitome of dark tourism, the present study sheds light on the nature of this tourism experience by clarifying the relations between the symbolic meanings assigned to the site and core elements of the tourist experience (motivation and sought interpretation benefits). The findings suggest that Auschwitz hosts a heritage experience rather than a merely dark tourism one, and that alongside site attributes, tourists' perceptions of the site should be considered in the conceptualization of the tourist experience. The findings challenge the current understanding of dark tourism as a distinct phenomenon to heritage tourism. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.