Genealogy tourism

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Genealogy Tourism, sometimes called roots tourism, is a segment of the tourism market consisting of tourists who have ancestral connections to their holiday destination. These genealogy tourists travel to the land of their ancestors to reconnect with their past and "walk in the footsteps of their forefathers".[1]

Genealogy tourism is a worldwide industry, although it is more prominent in countries that have experienced mass emigration at some time in history and thus have a large worldwide Diaspora community.


Genealogy tourism has been prominent in Ireland; recorded genealogy tourism peaked in the year 2000 as 116,000 genealogical visitors traveled to the island.[2] The Irish Tourist Board ceased recording genealogy visitors numbers from 2004, and its present levels are now unknown. Scotland staged a homecoming festival in 2009 to appeal to genealogy tourists.

Genealogy tourism is very common to countries of Central Europe where the World War II caused mass migrations of population. Particularly Jewish genealogy tourism is very popular and on the rise.[3]


Many African Americans and other Diaspora Africans were motivated to travel to the African homelands by Alex Harley’s best-seller and television mini-series Roots: Saga of an American Family.[4][5][6] Areas frequently visited include Cape Coast and Elmina in Ghana, Goree Island in Senegal, Juffureh in Gambia and Bahia in Brazil. African governments recognized this opportunity for development in tourism. Successive governments in Ghana, for example, have made efforts through the Ministry of Tourism to attract Diaspora Africans to Ghana, including the African African-American summit in 1999, the biannual Pan-African Historical Theatre Festival, Emancipation Day celebrations and Juneteenth.[6]


Genealogy tourists often participate in tracing their ancestral lineages; digital access to historical records, as well as DNA studies in recent years, have allowed an increasing number of people to identify the homelands of their ancestors.[7]


  1. ^ Feng, K., & Page, S. (2000). An exploratory study of tourism, migration–immigration nexus: Travel experience of Chinese residence in New Zealand. Current Issues of Tourism, 3(3), 246–281
  2. ^ Bord Fáilte (2001), Genealogy Facts 2000. Dublin: Bord Fáilte, Market research Planning
  3. ^ "Genealogy in Poland - Polin Travel". 
  4. ^ Clarke, K. M. "Mapping Transnationality: Roots Tourism and the Institutionalization of Ethnic Heritage". In K. M. Clarke & D.A. Thomas (Eds.), Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness, Duke University Press, Durham, 2006. pp. 133-153.
  5. ^ de Santana Pinho, P. "African-American roots tourism in Brazil", Latin American Perspectives, 2008, Vol.35 No. 3, pp 70-86.
  6. ^ a b Mensah, I (2015): The roots tourism experience of diaspora Africans: A focus on the Cape Coast and Elmina Castles, Journal of Heritage Tourism, DOI:10.1080/1743873X.2014.990974
  7. ^ Higginbotham, G. (2012). Seeking roots and tracing lineages: constructing a framework of reference for roots and genealogical tourism. Journal of Heritage Tourism, 7(3), 189-203.