An Explorative Note on Tourism Development along Former War Front Lines
Keywords:War memories, Tourismification, Experience-scapes, Staged authenticity, Re-enactment
Current research about the pro-active role of tourism in valorizing war memories and landscapes still is in an explorative stage; learning from case studies, all marked by their political context, in time and space, and mainly describing local and/or regional key issues. Obviously, creating landscapes of memories for contemporary uses and visitors’ experiences implies a trans-disciplinary understanding of the process of changing values (heritage landscapes) and of the intrinsic dynamics of tourism development. Shifting values and creativity in linking histories of war sites and their narratives with places and people today, leads to branding ‘sites of memories’ in the mindset of residents and visitors.
We briefly scan four very different examples of border areas with a war history, that became landmarks on the tourist’ maps today. The challenge for tourism development in former war related sites is to identify the dynamics - in time and space - to assess the political and economic forces and to identify shifts in the process of remembrance and valorization of war heritage sites, in terms of interests in war memories, narratives and experiences. These are now strategically integrated in national, regional and local tourism development planning.
Historical military front zones, political borders in past wars, presently marked as tourism destinations, are on the research agenda of ‘War and Tourism’. The observations below on four different former war border zones with their specific landmarks and memoryscapes, are inspiring for current tourism development. Four different war border zones were briefly explored “The Great Wall in China” “The Roman Limes”, The “Wire of Death” in the First World War and the ”Iron Curtain” in the Cold War. These observations can inspire future research on tourismification of war heritage.
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