Although research into the relationship between tourism and death has predominantly focused on dark tourism, tourism scholars are exploring other forms of association between the two. In this context, this paper focuses on a little-researched practice in tourism studies: the scattering of cremation ashes in spaces used for tourism and leisure. This is not a universal practice, and it may only be commonplace in countries with permissive legislation regarding the ‘disposal’ of cremation ashes. After considering the disposal of ashes in historical context, we examine practices of ashes scattering in three types of tourism setting: visitor attractions, areas of managed countryside, and sports grounds/stadia. We explore the range of management responses to scattering, ranging from outright prohibition, to treating the practice as a form of revenue generation. We also consider the dissonance that can arise from ashes scattering, particularly the emotional impact on other leisure users of an encounter with human remains, but also the emotional labour demanded of employees who are required to manage this practice. The paper identifies a number of future research directions intended to throw more light on the practices and implications of scattering cremation ashes in tourism and leisure settings.
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- cremated remains