chapter  6
21 Pages

Authenticity and the ethics of tourism

By ‘authentic’ we usually mean that something is genuine and original, that it can be certified by evidence, or remains true to a tradition. The tourism industry relies heavily on the idea of authenticity, and tourists themselves often seek out what they define as an authentic local experience. The idea of ‘real travel’ is dependent upon a notion of a genuine local experience, which raises the issue of what is defined as traditional, original and local. This question of authenticity has become crucial to the literature on tourism development (Cohen, 1988; MacCannell, 1999; Pearce and Moscardo, 1986; Redfoot, 1984), partly because tourism and the heritage industry often seem to dissolve the boundaries between what is verifiably authentic and inauthentic or counterfeit. The tourism industry tends to provide its own definitions of the traditional or typical, which are negotiated through what is locally perceived as authentic and what tourists and developers view as key travel experiences.