How does a Town become a Ghost Town ?

That was the question I was asked when I presented recently on ABC Nightline, the national radio programme in Australia.

I was invited onto the programme because of my E Book and workshop entitled “Ghost Town ,Clone Town, Home Town”.

As a business consultant I define a “Ghost Town” as a community where at least 20% of the retail premises in the High Street have closed down, this gives the consumer the impression a town is dying.

What is a Ghost Town?

It is derelict old town which may be preserved because of historic importance or is it an old town that has been developed as a tourist attraction or a town that has survived by being a Disney style attraction or a town where the community has left the region. Plus, it could be combination of these factors.

What causes a town to become Ghost Town?

A town can become ghost town over night or over a century. The reasons for dereliction are numerous.

The main reasons a ghost town occurs could be:

  • Fire. The bushfires in Australia have illustrated how a town can become ghost town overnight. This happened in January 2016 when Yarloop in Western Australia was destroyed overnight with the loss of two people and 181 homes.
  • Flood. We have seen towns literally swept away around the world due to flooding
  • Famine. The Irish potato famine of 1845-1849 meant many towns became ghost towns in Ireland.
  •  Historic battles. Oradour-sur-Glane in France in June 1944 was destroyed by the German invasion and has been preserved as a ghost town.
  • Drought  The droughts across Australia over recent years have resulted in people leaving the land and hence towns being unable to survive.
  •  Economic Downturn in the local economy. Bodie ,California was a thriving town until the last gold mine closed in 1942.
  • The economic downturn in 2020 because of COVID 19 will result in new influx of Ghost Towns
  • Pollution. Chernobyl in April 1996 resulted in the village of Pipyrat in Ukraine becoming a ghost town and Witternoom in West Australia faced the same fate due to asbestos mining pollution
  • Government Action. Imber on the Salisbury Plain in the UK was thriving little village until the British Government took it over in 1943 as a war time practice ground. It has never been returned to the villagers.

Can Ghost Towns become a Tourist Attraction ?

History has show that “Dark Tourism” is popular. Halloween is a big tourist event in the USA and Canada with tourist visiting haunted houses Now is the time to develop Ghost trails to build on this momentum

Before setting up a ghost town ,identify

1 What is going to make you unique

2Who is a your target market

3 What does the local community want and care about

4  How can local businesses help on the journey

Then develop your action plan.

Download the Ghost Town Clone Town Home Town ebook

Listen to the ABC Interview

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