Heat Tourism – People Are Traveling to Death Valley for Selfies with Extreme Thermometer Readings

Heat tourism is a thing, with some people driving thousands of miles to Nevada’s Death Valley for a selfie with the thermometer listing one of the hottest recorded temperatures on Earth.

While most people see extremely high temperatures as a perfect excuse to stay indoors and turn up the air-conditioning, for some it’s a perfect opportunity for a memorable selfie. Last month the Death Valley National Park recorded the hottest temperature ever reliably measured on Earth, and so-called “heat tourists” have been flocking there ever since hoping to snap a picture with the now famous thermometer at Furnace Creek Visitor Center as is shows some of the highest temperatures ever recorded.


To be fair, heat tourism has been around for a while, and Death Valley has always been one of the main such attractions on the planet. Back in 2013, NPR reported that people from as far as New Zealand, Belgium and China traveled to the California desert valley just to experience the extreme heat for themselves.

“It’s one of the few places in the world where you can easily come out and experience temperatures into the 120s, and that’s why we get visitors from all over the world,” one person explained.

Only things have changed a lot over the last seven years. For one, social media has become a big part of our lives, and Instagram has really taken off, so it doesn’t come as a big surprise that for a lot of people heat tourism means traveling to Death Valley just to take a selfie with the iconic thermometer there showing an extreme temperature.

While many Europeans still travel to Death Valley to experience temperatures unheard of in their countries, this year some Americans have been driving hundreds, even thousands of miles just to catch a photo of themselves with the Furnace Creek Visitor Center showing over 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

According to YouTuber Dan Markham, who recently drove from Utah to Death Valley, some people would stay in their cars with their air-conditioning on blast and just keep their eye on the thermometer. As soon as it reached a really high temperature, they would all flock to it for a selfie.

“It would be stuck at 129 and then all of a sudden it would go up to 130 and everyone would run out of their cars to take a picture,” Markham told LA Times.

So much for being worried about global warming. For some, it’s just another opportunity to get some more likes on social media…

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