Research Output
Influences on interpretation: A critical evaluation of the influences on the design and management of interpretation at lighter dark visitor attractions
  Although previous tourism research has acknowledged the phenomenon of dark tourism, there is still an absence of research in relation to the design and management of interpretation at dark visitor attractions (DVAs) situated on the lighter end of the darkness spectrum (LDVAs). In order to bring a greater understanding of interpretation design processes within the field of dark tourism, this research, underpinned by an interpretivist paradigm, draws on three specific areas of study – heritage tourism, dark tourism, and interpretation. This research relies on qualitative methods, including semistructured interviews with managers and focus group discussions with staff using rich picture building. These methods were employed for data collection at The Real Mary King’s Close (RMKC), Sick to Death (S2D), and Gravedigger Ghost Tour (GGT). These LDVAs were selected as examples of the wider range of LDVAs, which promote edutainment agendas using a variety of interpretive methods, including re-enactment, in order to deliver information pertaining to unpleasant histories of the more distant past. The findings of this research include a range of influences based on management challenges at RMKC, S2D, and GGT. These influences include stakeholder inclusion and experience with interpretation design; budget restrictions; access, spatial limitations, and conservation concerns; edutainment and selecting interpretation methods; and managing ethical concerns and authenticity. The findings also revealed a series of relationships between these influences and further exposed a number of management challenges relating to interpretation designs. The findings also demonstrate that LDVAs are critically concerned with matters of authenticity and historical facts, despite their entertaining nature and higher commercial infrastructure. In order to manage these influences and the exposed management challenges, this thesis argues that LDVAs would benefit from a holistic model that comprises steps of interpretation planning, designing, and on-going management activities. It therefore proposes a guiding model, contributing to both theory and practice.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    31 October 2019

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    G155 Tourism

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    338.4791 Tourist industry

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Wyatt, B. Influences on interpretation: A critical evaluation of the influences on the design and management of interpretation at lighter dark visitor attractions. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Heritage tourism; Dark tourism; Interpretation; Interpretation design; The Real Mary King’s Close; Sick to Death; Gravedigger Ghost Tour

Monthly Views:

Available Documents