Presenter Information

Marta Soligo, UNLVFollow

Presentation Type

Paper

Description

This research is a critical study of tourism at four cemeteries in the Los Angeles area between 2013 and 2019. We examined these venues through the lens of celebrity tourism, since they are known as “Hollywood memorial parks,” hosting the graves of some of the most famous stars in the world. Through a qualitative study, we aimed to understand how the relationship between these venues and the entertainment industry works as a “pull factor” for tourists. Firstly, we identified the motivations behind the increasing number of tourists who add Los Angeles cemeteries to their must-see list. Although scholars often define cemeteries as dark tourism destinations, our investigation shows that Hollywood memorial parks are more related to celebrity tourism. Secondly, we described how the experience of tourists visiting their favorite celebrity’s grave can be seen as a modern pilgrimage centered on a collective experience. Thirdly, we analyzed the cemetery as a commodity in which executives work to promote the site as the perfect location where one can spend the “eternal life.” In this sense, we also investigated how memorial parks are often used as venues for cultural events, attracting a large number of tourists. Initiatives such as movie screenings and guided tours transform cemeteries in much more than just peaceful places where to honor the dead.


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IMMORTAL CELEBRITIES: TOURISM IN HOLLYWOOD CEMETERIES

This research is a critical study of tourism at four cemeteries in the Los Angeles area between 2013 and 2019. We examined these venues through the lens of celebrity tourism, since they are known as “Hollywood memorial parks,” hosting the graves of some of the most famous stars in the world. Through a qualitative study, we aimed to understand how the relationship between these venues and the entertainment industry works as a “pull factor” for tourists. Firstly, we identified the motivations behind the increasing number of tourists who add Los Angeles cemeteries to their must-see list. Although scholars often define cemeteries as dark tourism destinations, our investigation shows that Hollywood memorial parks are more related to celebrity tourism. Secondly, we described how the experience of tourists visiting their favorite celebrity’s grave can be seen as a modern pilgrimage centered on a collective experience. Thirdly, we analyzed the cemetery as a commodity in which executives work to promote the site as the perfect location where one can spend the “eternal life.” In this sense, we also investigated how memorial parks are often used as venues for cultural events, attracting a large number of tourists. Initiatives such as movie screenings and guided tours transform cemeteries in much more than just peaceful places where to honor the dead.