What is war tourism? Meaning, explanation, definition

One speaks of war tourism in general terms when visits to war zones take place for personal entertainment or to gain attention in the social media.

We also speak of war tourism when a trip to a war zone is not for reporting or political reasons, but is of a private nature. Then the focus is not on the country visited, its proxies and people, but on the visitor himself.

Reasons for war tourism

A variant of war tourism is vacationing in a devastated country. In this case, people seek special thrills on vacation and deliberately expose themselves to danger. Many are virtually addicted to sensations. It is not enough for them to watch dangerous events on television; they want to be there themselves and experience firsthand what real danger means. Travel agencies earn a lot of money with travel offers to Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or Pakistan.

In Sarajevo, there is even a hostel where guests spend the night in a former bunker. The „dark tourism“ category also includes trips to areas where natural disasters have occurred. Here, too, the desire for sensation is the main motive. Even if the wars are already over, visitors to these countries are still exposed to great risks, especially from terrorist threats.

War tourism by politicians

In times of war, politicians often make their way to war zones to see for themselves what is happening on the ground. For example, they visit children’s hospitals, look at refugee shelters and talk to aid organizations. On their way to the individual scenes, they like to have their pictures taken and disseminate the images on social media. But the motives of these people are not always as moral as they portray to the outside world. They are more concerned with their own publicity than with tangible help for the destroyed country.

German and European politicians like to travel to disaster and war zones to declare their solidarity with the affected country. But if these trips are only made because they want to polish up their own image in their home country, it is war tourism in its most negative form. Starting in 2022, Western political celebrities show a pronounced enthusiasm for daring trips to Ukraine, even to areas under fire. In doing so, they put themselves in the limelight with media attention, talk to residents of the bombed-out cities and to local politicians.

There are also benevolent pictures of this in the media. Their visits are often accompanied by promises of arms deliveries, which are not always followed by deeds. It would be more important if, instead of hugs and handshakes, real support were brought along.

War tourism by celebrities – supported by NGOs

Many visitors to war zones travel with an international mandate, for example actress Angelina Jolie in her role as UN Special Envoy. She visited many poor countries such as Sudan, Lebanon, Yemen, Chad and Sierra Leone. These visits raise the question of whether it is really necessary to visit these war zones to draw attention to the misery of the Third World. After all, these celebrities claim numerous security forces and cause high costs in the country, and not only because of that. The effect of their visits is considered by many people to be very small. At best, they would generate donations and donor conferences, but would not change anything about the actual problem.

Even in the Ukraine war started by Russia in 2022, it is assumed that the war crimes and atrocities will be forgotten over time, leaving behind a destroyed country that will require a lot of effort and money to rebuild.

Autor: Pierre von BedeutungOnline

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