Narcotourism: a conceptual framework and research agenda

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Despite existing in practice, as well as in other social science and policy literature, narcotourism has not appeared in tourism journals, and its full scope remains unarticulated. This paper aims to introduce narcotourism to a broad audience of tourism scholars, provide its conceptual foundations, and guide subsequent tourism scholarship on this topic. Looking beyond writings that have previously focused on the consumption of drugs during travel and tourism experiences, this paper presents a conceptual framework distinguishing six different tourism-related activities encompassed by the term narcotourism: consumption-oriented narcotourism, production-oriented narcotourism, acquisition-oriented narcotourism, dark heritage narcotourism, narcotrafficker tourism and emulatory narcotourism. This framework describes the hallmark characteristics of each form of narcotourism, identifies linkages between these forms of narcotourism and other areas of tourism scholarship, and concludes by suggesting a future research agenda for narcotourism. Given a long history of association between tourism activities and drug consumption, shifting legal dynamics regarding drug use, insights emerging from related disciplines, and narcotourism’s coexistence alongside myriad forms of tourism already explored by tourism scholars, this paper provides a timely foundation for future research on narcotourism within tourism studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTourism Geographies
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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