Purpose – The paper's primary goals are three-fold: to explore how disaster tourism serves as a vehicle for self-reflection in respect to how the disaster tour affects the tourist; to understand how cultures adapt to abrupt change; and to understand how the tourism industry can lead to the cultural and economic revitalization of devastated areas. Design/methodology/approach – This paper draws on sociological theory, experience, and participant observation to complete an autoethnographic study of a “disaster tour” in and around the New Orleans, Louisiana, metropolitan area. Findings – Conveying information via auto-ethnographic disaster tourism helps readers develop an understanding of others by being immersed in the tour experience. Placing the researchers in the midst of the analysis presents a perspective of the cultural mix of New Orleans as place set apart, even among places in the south. Finally, this study highlights the importance of a rapidly rebounding tourism industry by “branding” New Orleans as a “Come back city.” Research limitations/implications – Because the research employs an auto-ethnograpic approach, it may not be possible to duplicate the observations and findings, which are subject to the interpretations of the reader. Originality/value – The contribution of this work to the literature is its highlighting of the flexibility of the tourism industry after a catastrophe and noting that tour guides frame the reconstruction process as “signs of hope” and “rebirth,” rather than a city in decline. Readers come to understand that the key to the revival of New Orleans is how disaster tourists understand the disaster as well as the recovery process.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||17|
|Journal||International Journal of Culture, Tourism, and Hospitality Research|
|State||Published - Jun 6 2008|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management