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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Bailey Ashton Adie, Alberto Amore and Colin Michael Hall

Existing literature on state socialist and communist heritage as a form of tourist consumption predominately focuses on destination contexts, such as the former Soviet…

Abstract

Purpose

Existing literature on state socialist and communist heritage as a form of tourist consumption predominately focuses on destination contexts, such as the former Soviet countries and the few remaining state communist countries (i.e. China, North Korea and Cuba). As a result, the visitation to places linked to the history of socialism and communism in the so-called western pluralist democracies has often been overlooked and, at most, unacknowledged, especially as most research on “socialistheritage focuses on sites connected to statist heritage rather than sites connected to socialist movements. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper aims to fill the gap in terms of research focusing on these types of sites, with evidence from a range of countries in Europe and the Americas. It does so by illustrating the presence and engagement with official and non-official communist/socialist heritage at varying levels of commodification.

Findings

The paper concludes that not only is there a need to broaden the concept of socialist heritage but that its framing needs to continue to be understood from present day ideological discourses and struggles with respect to the marking of urban heritage tourist locations.

Originality/value

This contribution advocates the broadening of the concept of socialist heritage by acknowledging the relevance of “hidden” urban sites related to key socialist thinkers, socialist opposition to fascism, and civil wars in which the socialist movement was involved, while also drawing parallels between the levels of socialist/heritage recognition and use as a commodity in relation to the historical narrative within the studied countries.

Details

International Journal of Tourism Cities, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-5607

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Tanja Mihalic

The purpose of this paper is to provide details of the communist and socialist past to inform the debate on redesigning tourism in Central and Eastern European (CEE…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide details of the communist and socialist past to inform the debate on redesigning tourism in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries as impacted by the transition and accelerated by European Union (EU) membership.

Design/methodology/approach

The issues from two sides are addressed: academic and practical. Based on a literature review, the authors propose a model of five main research topics that represent the main areas of change and conceptualise the general EU accession research debate on tourism. Content analysis is conducted on each of the revealed main research topics that are presented and discussed from the standpoint of tourism-relevant socialist and communist stature and image. On the other hand, this paper engages with reality as it surveys real-life practices in tourism development and business operation based on the personal experience of the researcher regarding the social situation under consideration.

Findings

The findings concerning the revealed main areas of tourism change in CEE countries following EU accession refer to the: change from communism towards a new image (Europeanisation and re-imaging), change from communism to capitalism (transformation and marketisation), change from old communist tourism products to new products (rejuvenation, diversification), change from communist towards sustainability values (sustainability) and change from tourism inside the communist block to international tourism (re-internationalisation) The discussion indicates how each area of change relates to socialist and communist content and its tourism relevance and the potential for tourism development, policy and business.

Research limitations/implications

The list of relevant works is not exhaustive as only tourism-focussed quality journals are surveyed in order to define the main areas of change.

Practical implications

A very relevant source of information and impartial advice for tourism developers and policymakers in ex-socialist and communist countries is provided regarding tourism development at the strategic and managerial levels.

Originality/value

This paper fills an identified information/resource gap concerning the potential and contribution of communist and socialist heritage to tourism development and business, and places this in the context of the changes CEE countries have made in order to stay and/or become tourism destinations. It introduces a new term “tourism redesign” which explains the transition in tourism development, policy and management through different areas of change.

Article
Publication date: 19 March 2018

Sonia Varadinova Mileva

The paper is making a preliminary evaluation of dark tourism potential in Bulgaria. Dark tourism is underestimated research topic in Bulgaria – a country with long and

Abstract

Purpose

The paper is making a preliminary evaluation of dark tourism potential in Bulgaria. Dark tourism is underestimated research topic in Bulgaria – a country with long and rich cultural heritage, belonging to orthodox religion, with ambiguous impacts from the communist/socialist political regime and nowadays being a typical destination for mass and 3 “S” (sun, sand, sea) tourism. The research topic is approached by starting with an inventory and classification of the main tourist attractions/sites for dark tourism according to the most widely applicable theoretical typologies, inclusively their territorial density, cities location, authenticity and commercialization. The general counterpoint is the non-western approach and the hypothesis that dark places/attractions can be explored as potential tourist resources, diversifying the cities destination supply. The places related to death within the death-tourism framework are explored within the urban landscape. The research applies supply-demand approach and includes semi-structured interviews with different stakeholders from the supply side and a questionnaire accessing the tourist’s perspective and readiness from the demand side. Special attentions is given to the cities as concentrating the major part of the dark sites/attractions in the country, being at the same time integral part of the public areas and urban landscape, with special designation and/or combination of additional recreational functions. The data and results from the conducted research revealed that dark tourism in Bulgaria, in the narrowest sense is relatively unknown, unexplored type of tourism, difficult to distinguish and overlapping with other types of tourism mainly in the cities. The paper also raises the discussion about the necessity to extend the dark tourism research in the cities, taking into account the non-western approach and cultural sensitiveness. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of the research, in its nature, is purely qualitative, widest and most applicable (Biran A., Hyde K., 2013), (Wight, 2006) (Light, 2017) and follows two main stages: inventory, classification and potential of the dark tourism sites/attractions in Bulgaria and supply-demand approach for pilot exploratory study of the reediness of the suppliers and main stakeholders from one side, and the tourist’s perceptions from other side.

Findings

The data and results from the conducted research revealed that dark tourism in the narrowest sense in Bulgaria is relatively unknown, unexplored type of tourism, difficult to distinguish and overlapping with other types of tourism mainly in the cities. The findings challenge the predominant understanding of dark tourism typology, spectrum, and type of places/attractions (Light, 2017). Within the tourism-death relationship framework in the non-western approach with narrow focus in Bulgaria as research area, the author can confirm that the concept of dark tourism research should be extended taking into account the religion (relationship to death), historical development and political regime. The results obtained clearly show that the main difference from the western approach lies in on completely different conceptual basis, which differs from the concept of dark tourism. Tourism is mostly linked with recreation, leisure, and entertainment, while the dark places/sites related to death and suffer are mostly linked to religion, historical or political heritage. Besides being different both create and conduct to a behavior and visit of such places with deserved respect, honor and part of national identity and culture.

Research limitations/implications

The study’s focus is narrow and limited at national level as part of “eastern” (non-western) context of tourism-death relationship framework. The findings resulted from pilot exploratory study provide theoretical and practical insights into understanding of dark tourism and its potential development in Bulgaria by considering the availability of dark sites/attractions, supply (readiness of main stakeholders) and demand side (tourist’s perspective). The paper limits the research in the post-modern context stressing on tourism/leisure and commercial use of death as attractions and places. Other limitations are pilot character of the exploratory study and the limited number of respondents.

Practical implications

The paper delivers practical insights into understanding of dark tourism and its potential development in Bulgaria by considering the availability of dark sites/attractions, supply (readiness of main stakeholders) and demand side (tourist’s perspective).

Originality/value

Most of the research in the field of dark tourism as expression of tourism-death relationship framework are concentrated on the “western way of thinking” (Light, 2017, p. 297) covering countries from West Europe, USA, Australia (Foote, 1997), (Bowman M., Pezzullo P., 2010, p. 188). The use of Western frameworks for understanding the tourism-death relationship in other parts of the world and particularly in Bulgaria as Eastern European and orthodox country may not be appropriate. For the specific research area – the case of Bulgaria, theoretically although incorrect, a parallel is possible between the western post-modern secularism and atheism as official communist policy between 1940 and 1990 (Metodiev, 2013). Darkness of sites/attraction identified within the tourism-death relationship and exploitation of the death is seen supporting and commemorating the sacrifice of the “heroes” of the time keeping them “eternally alive” and as symbols, incarnations of the “sacral” political power.

Details

International Journal of Tourism Cities, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-5607

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 January 2018

John Lennon

The purpose of this paper is to consider the history and dark tourism attractions associated with a case study of the Thai-Burma Railway in the city of Kanchanaburi…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the history and dark tourism attractions associated with a case study of the Thai-Burma Railway in the city of Kanchanaburi, Thailand. The paper considers how history has been abridged and distorted at a number of attraction sites in order to exploit the dark tourism commercial potential. The role of film media is considered as a critical element of the site narrative and the reality of the tragic past of this place is discussed within the context of Thailand’s role in the Second World War. Kanchanaburi, through the urban attractions that constitute the primary motivations for visitation, distorts and exploits its dark history for commercial and ideological purposes. Where accurate the Second World War interpretation was identified, it was maintained by balancing the requirements of national governments and institutions with acceptable levels of ambiguity and non-controversial perspectives on this urban location’s dark past.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on literature, historical documents and tourism publications related to the Second World War and the incarceration and forced labour associated with the Thai-Burma Railway and the city of Kanchanaburi. Fieldwork incorporating tourist attraction and commemorative site visitation was undertaken in Northern Thailand in January 2017. Curators, managers, operators and tourist authorities were contacted in advance of the fieldwork by e-mail to request interviews. The sites identified were the primary sites visited by tourists, and no related Second World War site in the area was excluded. For those interviewed in relation to the subject area, a standard questionnaire based on a rolling database, relevant to particular sites was utilised. Interviews were taped and transcribed.

Findings

The city of Kanchanaburi is defined by a heritage that has changed over time. Many factors imbue the meanings and content of place. This is a function of a plethora of competing Influences and agendas; political, economic, cultural, demographic and historical. Yet, this destination is defined by the dark history of the Second World War which is associated with this place. The visitor attraction sites considered in Kanchanaburi provide multiple narratives around the Second World War events. They offer a range of content driven by influences as diverse as simple commercial gain to the complex interaction of political, economic and ideological agendas (cf. Gegner, 2012). In each case, the interpretation is used to articulate heritage through objects, artefacts, audio recording, place or imagery. These elements exist in environment(s) of their creation; the Second World War heritage of Kanchanaburi is developed in a nation that has only a partial and selective acceptance of its role in this conflict. The visitor attractions examined in this research and their content have all re-constructed and re-represented the past. Historical memorialization remains embedded in interests that are global, commercial, ideological but rarely neutral. The interpretation of the Thai-Burma Railway and the narrative of the many victims is associated with the construction merit respect, commemoration and consideration that is value free and not distorted by ideology or commercial imperatives.

Practical implications

This paper provides a foundation for further consideration of how such contested dark heritage is viewed not least by visitors and users. Development of research in this area would provide a valuable source of data on: consumer profiles, motivations and orientation. Relating this data to nationality and origin would provide useful comparative data to that offered by operators and managers of key attractions. Furthermore, the prevalence of social and digital media as primary tourist information source could be measured against the continued (and possibly declining) importance of the filmic narrative. Furthermore, deeper evaluation of nature and content of interpretation is merited, given the range of approaches and content observed. At a political and policy level, the treatment of this part of Thai history and the degree of sensitivity around interpretation is linked to how a nation confronts its difficult past. More thorough evaluation of treatment in national media and education curriculum also merits review. Urban heritage is an important element of urban destination marketing and evaluation based around core themes of transparency, openness, respect for the past, and sensitive treatment of tragic events offer direction for application and evaluation in other urban contexts.

Originality/value

This is the first time the heritage of this city has been considered in the context of dark tourism and the role of Thailand in the Second World War. It incorporates an analysis of all of the relevant attractions in the city and provides through the fieldwork conducted an original contribution to the tourism literature in this field. It draws on historical record, original documentation, interview analysis and tourism data. It provides further evidence of the dark tourism phenomena in a South East Asian context linked to a conflicted and selective appraisal of the past.

Details

International Journal of Tourism Cities, vol. 4 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-5607

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Claudia Sima

The purpose of this paper is to identify and explore how different stakeholders represent communist and revolution heritage for tourism, with a case-study on Bucharest…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and explore how different stakeholders represent communist and revolution heritage for tourism, with a case-study on Bucharest, the capital city of Romania. The research attempts to identify gaps and tensions between representation makers on communist heritage tourism.

Design/methodology/approach

The research employs a range of qualitative methods in order to explore communist heritage tourism representation from different perspectives: content analysis of secondary data in the form of government, industry and media destination promotional material; interviews with a range of representation producers (government, industry and media); focus groups with potential tourists; and content analysis of user generated content under the form of blogs by actual visitors to Bucharest.

Findings

Findings reveal that there are gaps between the “official” or government representations of communism and revolution heritage and “unofficial” or industry, media and tourists’ representations. The research confirms and builds on Light’s (2000a, b) views that communist heritage is perceived as “problematic” by government officials and that attempts have been made to reinterpret it in a different light. The process of representation is made difficult by recent trends such as the increase in popularity of communism heritage tourism in countries such as Germany or Hungary. The potential of communist and revolution heritage to generate tourism is increasingly being acknowledged. However, reconciliation with “an unwanted” past is made difficult because of the legacy of communism and the difficulties of transition, EU-integration, economic crisis or countless political and social crisis and challenges. The “official” and “unofficial” representations successfully coexist and form part of the communism and revolution heritage product.

Research limitations/implications

The research attempts to look at the representation of communism heritage from different angles, however, it does not exhaust the number of views and perspectives that exist on the topic. The research only records the British and Romanian perspectives on the topic. The topic is still in its infancy and more research is needed on communism heritage tourism and representation.

Originality/value

The research identifies and explores gaps, agreements and disagreements over the representation of communist and revolution heritage in Bucharest, Romania.

Details

International Journal of Tourism Cities, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-5607

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Stanislav Ivanov and Veronika Achikgezyan

The purpose of this paper is to identify the attitudes of Bulgarians towards country’s historical monuments, communist heritage, communist heritage tourism and their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the attitudes of Bulgarians towards country’s historical monuments, communist heritage, communist heritage tourism and their willingness to participate in communist heritage trips.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample includes 359 respondents recruited via an online survey. Mann-Whitney U-test is used to identify the differences in the respondents’ attitudes towards communist heritage tourism in Bulgaria on the basis of their age, gender, frequency of visit to historical monuments, attitudes towards country’s communist past, prior visit to, familiarity with and attitude towards communist monuments and identification of communist monuments with country’s heritage.

Findings

The respondents who visited historical monuments more frequently, had more positive attitudes towards communist past of the country and its communist monuments, those who had visited and were very familiar with the communist monuments were more supportive towards donating money for the restoration of communist monuments and their inclusion in tourism supply.

Practical implications

The paper reveals that domestic communist heritage tourism demand exists in Bulgaria and tour operators need to focus on including communist heritage in tourism supply.

Social implications

Communist heritage is controversial and different social groups perceive it differently, depending on their attitudes towards communism as a political, economic and social system.

Originality/value

The paper compares the attitudes towards historical and communist monuments and revealed that communist monuments received less support for inclusion in tourism supply than historical monuments; the respondents were less inclined to participate in trips to them and to donate money for their restoration.

Details

International Journal of Tourism Cities, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-5607

Keywords

Abstract

Details

The Development of Socialism, Social Democracy and Communism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-373-1

Article
Publication date: 1 April 1983

Anghel N. Rugina

Whenever capitalism in the West appears to be dragging with unresolved problems, then quite a few people, including professional economists, begin to think that perhaps…

Abstract

Whenever capitalism in the West appears to be dragging with unresolved problems, then quite a few people, including professional economists, begin to think that perhaps socialism is a better alternative. Conversely, in the East even a larger number of people, including economists (who are not activists), seriously believe that in view of their shortages and meagre incomes capitalism would be a better alternative.

Details

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0306-8293

Abstract

Details

The Development of Socialism, Social Democracy and Communism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-373-1

Abstract

Details

The Development of Socialism, Social Democracy and Communism
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-373-1

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