Chasing shadows in Varosha
: the intriguing allure of a ghost town

  • Beatriz Neto (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The debate on whether ghosts are real has been ongoing for centuries. However, the fact that ghost towns are a reality is undoubtable. Varosha, in Cyprus, has been deserted for years. Victim of an invasion in 1974, this area is striped of any hustle. The only glimpse of life is the tourists that are attracted by its gruesome past. Therefore, this Cypriot town became a hot spot for dark tourism seekers. Dark tourism is a controversial trend that has been growing throughout the years. This paper aims to explore the motivations behind the decision to visit places that are known for their tragic past. The connection between the proximity to the event that led the town to be deserted with the motivations to visit that site it’s another point of interest in this dissertation. To satisfy the research objectives, the conclusion will be developed taking into consideration the data collected from focus groups. The 24 participants will be divided into four groups, according to their nationalities with some groups being composed of mixed citizenships and the others being homogenous in that requisite. Based on the research using Leximancer, it was possible to determine that tourists are not motivated to visit ghost towns. The demotivators are affected by the proximity to the event, with Cypriots mentioning reasons such as anger and fear of supporting the illegal occupation, and other nationalities referring to an ethical motivation. This dissertation can help tourism operators and governments marketing their destinations in a more appealing way.
Date of Award29 Jan 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorHelena Rodrigues (Supervisor)


  • Dark tourism
  • Ghost towns
  • Varosha
  • Cyprus
  • Motivations
  • Ethical
  • History


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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