At first sight, both words may have a similar meaning. Nothing further from reality. While War tourism refers to visiting war places only for simple voyeurism, battlefield tourism is a type of traveling where people visit ancient battlefields, which are interesting due to its historical importance.
War tourism exists since mid- 19th century, when America or Crimea were some of the main scenes for this type of tourists and it has developed until nowadays. Currently, media are a key actor at the time of determining what might be attracting for those seeking dangerous places just to confirm that, sometimes, human cruelty seems to have no limits. Syria, Mali or Somalia could be some examples of this kind of tourism, despite it does not mean that traveling to these countries always involves being classified as superificial voyeur.
Besides, war tourism does not only refers to countries in conflict, but also to places with high levels of drug traffic or illegal trade. Travelers jobs can also turn a place into a dangerous one, specially if they exercise professions seen as a threat for some of the country’s inhabitants, such as journalists, politicians or NGOs collaborators.
On the other hand, battlefield tourism can be exercised with much more lack of concern, since it does not have to involve traveling to a dangerous country. Some of the most visited places related to this type of tourism are the Berlin Wall (Germany), the Maginot Line (France) and sections of the Atlantic Wall that nazis used to defend themselves from the allies’ attacks.