Phoenix tourism within dark tourism: Rebirth, rebuilding and rebranding of tourist destinations following disasters

De Mond Shondell Miller, Christopher Gonzalez, Mark Hutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to address the knowledge gap in the field of dark tourism by understanding the phenomena of phoenix tourism, which focuses on the transformation and rebirth of places following death and disasters. Design/methodology/approach: The paper builds on existing theoretical understanding of dark tourism and disaster recovery to explore destination image recovery within the tourism industry. It uses phoenix tourism as a lens to understand the social, cultural and economic context of post-disaster tourism destination recovery and rebranding in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Findings: A presentation of post-disaster strategies and recommendations are given with attention to the re-branding of images once associated with death and darkness to enhance a destination’s resilience. Practical Implications: For local policymakers, tourism leaders, researchers and community developers, this research describes strategies that facilitate rebranding dark tourism sites, such as areas of rebirth or “phoenix tourism”, to enhance destination recovery image and to promote a more disaster- and risk-resilient tourism industry. Originality/value: This paper bridges the knowledge gap by defining and contributing to the theoretical understanding of phoenix tourism as it identifies the what, how and why elements of the phenomena of phoenix tourism. Furthermore, the authors propose how to overcome negative destination images to preserve, present or redefine an image of a tourist destination “overcoming”, and eventual “rebirth” serves to re-calibrate resilience of the tourism industry and regional redevelopment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-215
Number of pages20
JournalWorldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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