Welcome to Our Dictatorship Vacation Paradise

January 15, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

Screen shot from online game,'Welcome to the Tourist Paradise.' (ISHR and Frankfurt Ad Agency Leo Brunett)
Screen shot from online game,'Welcome to the Tourist Paradise.' (ISHR and Frankfurt Ad Agency Leo Brunett)
This year, before booking a vacation tour package to an exotic location ruled by a dictatorship, you may first want to check out the human rights violations you may help fund.

The German based International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) and the Frankfurt Ad Agency Leo Brunett have set up an online game to demonstrate the political reality of many seemingly perfect vacation spots.

"In many vacation destinations, such as Cuba, Egypt or China, human rights violations are an everyday reality. Still, these countries enjoy great popularity. Out of disinterest, or plain ignorance, many travelers ignore that a large portion of tourist revenues flows directly into the coffers of these human rights abusing regimes or even the military," ISHR said in a Dec. 7, 2010 media release.

ISHR, in collaboration with Leo Brunett, has come up with a special campaign for International Human Rights Day. To make people aware that traveling in certain countries directly supports the abusive regimes, and to help travelers chose different vacation spots, they have created an online game called “Welcome to the Tourist Paradise.”

In the game, the player takes the role of a tourist, moving the figure around typical tourist activities: a beach bar, disco, or some famous spiritual site.

On a second screen, running underneath the colorful dream vacation world, one can observe how one unintentionally activates a parallel world of paramilitary forces. While in the upper screen one is guiding the tourist to a bar on a white beach, the paramilitary below burns down a press stand, brutally disperses a political gathering, and shoots one person. The entanglement of a picture-perfect vacation and the gray zone of financially supported human rights abuses becomes a direct experience.

The game can be played online in your flash-enabled browser at www.tourist-paradise.org. Wait a minute or two for it to fully download and then click on the word "START." Use the arrow key on your key pad to make the tourist move. When the word "SPACE" appears, click the space bar for action.

Read the original German article.