What is Toilet Tourism?

Updated: May 23

At FLUSH, we use the term “toilet tourism” a lot when we find fascinating toilets on our travels. So we thought it would be worthwhile to share what we mean by toilet tourism and how you, too, can help us find cool toilet tourist spots.

An Australian-based research group called My Travel Research may have coined the term “toilet tourism” in 2017. That year, they established the International Toilet Tourism Awards, where people could nominate the most thoughtfully designed public toilets available for tourists in high-income countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US. The idea was that, since nice public toilets can bring more tourist traffic to certain places, super attractive public toilets could ultimately become tourist destinations. Since the group started these awards, they’ve celebrated dozens of beautiful bathrooms.


We love this! But then we thought, why would toilet tourism just public toilets? There has been growing interest in toilets (and poo, of course), resulting in more fun and interesting places to visit that go beyond the pure function of toilets. Because of this, FLUSH uses the term “toilet tourism” to highlight the interesting toilet-themed tourist opportunities out there. We include a bunch of things in this term:


Fascinating toilets (for use, ideally), respecting the original term to mean toilets worth visiting because they are beautiful, wacky, unique, or super fancy. Usually, these will be public toilets, and it could include toilets in fascinating places, too. Lonely Planet has a fun book on toilets, as well as the classic table book Toilets of the World – both share images of really interesting and quirky toilets you can see on your travels. A bunch of Instagram accounts out there celebrate public toilets out there by posting toilets they come upon regularly.


Curious toilet history spaces, looking for the history of toilets in the often-neglected pockets of global landmarks. These spaces can uncover some details of how we used to use toilets, what toilets used to look like, and how our culture either accommodated for the necessary duty or molded the toilet to respect cultural customs. This would include our blog posts on the Lockwood Mansion in CT (US), George Washington’s privy in Mount Vernon (US), and the oldest toilet in Paris (France).


Toilet-themed venues, where the function of toilets blends into a venue to bring it some character. This concept is where you can see restaurants, bars, and public venues that use toilets as their focal catch. This would include the chain Modern Toilet Restaurants in Southeast Asia, the Poop Café in Toronto (CA), or Attendant in London (UK – it used to be a public toilet!). Here, toilet fixtures and designs are front and center for the décor of the places.


Museums about toilets, where you learn about toilets in some fashion – and we’re including poo, too! These museums either have buildings or are mobile (such as walking tours) and talk about the history or quirky aspects of toilets, or just display a whole ton of toilet paraphernalia as artwork. You can go to these museums and actively learn about toilets in different ways. Here, we include the mobile London Loo Tours and stationary National Poo Museum (UK), Sulabh International Museum of Toilets (IN), and Barney Smith’s Toilet Seat Art Museum in Dallas (US).


FLUSH putt a map together under Toilet Tourism showing different places in the world where a toilet tourist can get their fun fix of toilet tourism. But we know we’re missing places - contact us (kim@flushwash.org) if you have more places you think we should add!

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