Cinema, Destination Image and Place Branding Cinema, Destination Image & Place Branding - Page 160

CINEMA, DESTINATION IMAGE & PLACE BRANDING disaster sites” (p.198) The authors explain that dark tourists “may be motivated to undertake a visit by a desire to experience the reality behind the media images and/or by a personal association with inhumanity” (Foley & Lennon, 1996 p.198). This appro- priation of elements such as death and disaster not as a negative counterpoint of the tours but as its very attractive appeals is largely responsible for the contro- versies surrounding the ethical issues of slum tours, just like in other kinds of dark tours. A particularly controversial point in slum tours is that the elements being commoditized are the precarious life conditions of real living people, rather than natural disasters or grievous historical moments that took place in the past. Associating these concepts with slum tours and also providing support to the role of cinema in the attraction of their participants, Freire-Medeiros (2011) concludes that “in the case of favela tourism, violence and risk do not constitute a background or a possibility, but are main features highly anticipate d and informed by the tourists’ viewing of City of God” (p. 26). Providing further empirical support for this assumption, tour guides interviewed by the author were aware of the fact that some tourists are motivated by the excitements of the violent favela, and even cited cases in which they expected to see “action”, meaning armed drug dealers and shootouts. Accordingly, tourists interviewed by Freire-Medeiros & Menezes (2013) made clear that risk was an important part of the package, and that the presence of drug dealers was not an inhibiting factor, but actually an attractive feature that adds to the tour’s uniqueness. In this context, according to Freire-Medeiros (2009), the favela that is sold to tourists offers both sides of reality tourism. “It allows the engagement with an altru- istic sense of good citizenship (tourists would be contributing to the economic devel- opment of a poor area by paying for a visit to it) at the same time it motivates a sense of adventure and tourism-related pursuits” (Freire-Medeiros, 2009 p. 5). In line with this argument and once more illustrating the role of cinema, Williams (2008) states that the Favela became a huge draw for foreign tourists due to the fascination with the drug culture as portrayed in the film City of God combined with a chari- table, if not voyeuristic desire to gaze upon while helping disadvantaged com- munities. Considering that the motivations to reality tours vary within each visitor who participates in them, the two sides of reality tours were incorporated into the proposed model as “social motivations” and “dark motivations”. The proposed model is graphically represented in Figure 1. 160 return to the content page