Fun or Fear? On-Site Versus On-Screen Experiences in Paranormal Tourism: A Case Study of Hashima Island, Japan

Riena Thongtammachat, Tingzhen Chen, Amy Osmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Paranormal tourism has seen increased demand, particularly from those tourists who seek unusual or unique experiences. Various paranormal phenomena offer multidimensional experiences for tourists in different physical contexts. Similarly, the advancement of technology has extended the ability to offer more authentic on-screen paranormal experiences. This study aims to explore and compare tourists’ on-site and on-screen experiences at Hashima Island, Japan, with an interest in identifying paranormal-related emotions. Tourist reviews and comments from Tripadvisor and YouTube were collected, with data analysis conducted using grounded theory and Leximancer. Key findings indicate that besides core paranormal encounters, some inviolate features also contribute to paranormal experiences, with tour guide services impacting the on-site experience and video filming techniques influencing the on-screen experience. Furthermore, this work revealed several emotional dimensions, with “fear” and “surprise” positively related to paranormal experiences. By comparing on-site and on-screen experiences, this study offers marketing and planning suggestions for destinations seeking to develop and promote paranormal tourism encounters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217–234
Number of pages18
JournalTourism Review International
Volume27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • paranormal tourism
  • onsite experiences
  • on-screen experiences
  • emotions
  • Hashima Island

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