Talk of 'tornado tourism' stirs anger in Joplin | St. Louis Public Radio

Talk of 'tornado tourism' stirs anger in Joplin

Jan 31, 2012

Eight months after a tornado laid waste to much of the city, Joplin is wrestling with an emotional question: Should the community market its devastated neighborhoods to tourists?

The convention and visitors bureau recently discussed offering guided bus tours and even a smartphone app. But storm victims bristled, imagining that their shattered homes could be put on display for legions of curious sightseers.

The bureau director says he wants to promote Joplin's recovery. He insists the effort is "not about busted-up homes or destroyed cars or body parts."

Signs of revival are slowly emerging from the ruins left by the May 22 twister, which killed 161 people. Debris has been cleared, and Home Depot and other stores have rebuilt. Hundreds of construction permits have been issued, too.