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The prospects for dark (troubles) tourism in Belfast, NI

Greg Ironside (School of Business and Enterprise, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK)
Kieran James (School of Business and Enterprise, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK)

International Journal of Tourism Cities

ISSN: 2056-5607

Article publication date: 12 May 2021

Issue publication date: 6 July 2021




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the prospects of Belfast as a Tourism City with a special focus on dark (troubles) tourism.


This paper uses two surveys – one for overseas-based potential tourists and one for Northern Ireland residents; one focus group with potential tourists; and three interviews, one with a Belfast MP and two with tour-guide operators, one from each side of the Northern Ireland divide. This paper is less theoretical than exploratory.


Generally, there is strong and widespread support for the concept of troubles tourism. Stakeholders must ensure that troubles tourism is intelligently and sensitively handled and builds up communities.


This is a relatively new and under-researched area. Belfast has been rarely looked at in urban-tourism studies. Findings have applicability for other post-conflict and divided countries, such as the countries of the former Yugoslavia.



Ironside, G. and James, K. (2021), "The prospects for dark (troubles) tourism in Belfast, NI", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 529-546.



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Copyright © 2021, International Tourism Studies Association.

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