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The importance of authenticity in cultural tourism
Pages 12 (3012 words)
Introduction Cultural tourism is basically tourism of the past. It is a way for tourists to examine the land in which they are touring by exploring the customs and rituals of the native peoples, as these people hold the key to the heritage of the country. That said, authenticity is a complex word to define.
Or, it may be existential, in which it is entirely subjective and really depends upon how authentic the cultural display feels to the person experiencing it. The danger posed by cultural tourism is that culture may be lost. This is because the culture of the tourists and the culture of the natives may become intermingled, and there is no authenticity left. According to the view of those who coin the term “hyper-reality,” the result is that the distinction between inauthenticity and authenticity are collapsed. Therefore, authenticity is lost, and redefined according to a new paradigm that includes the mixing of tourist culture. This is obviously detrimental to the native populations, whose culture and rituals have been passed down from one generation to the next, and have a profound interest in keeping their culture alive. Another danger is that native people may be exploited through inauthentic cultural shows. A good example of this is the Maasai people who were on display at a Kenyan ranch owned by a wealthy Briton. The Maasai people put on a show for the wealthy visitors, and lived in mud huts on the property. They were not allowed to interact, and they were treated as one might treat animals in the zoo – strictly for display and entertainment. ...
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