The word authentic is defined by the oxford dictionaries as “made or done in the traditional or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles and original.”
One of the most talked about travel trends is authenticity, but the tourism marketers are very nervous and unsure how to define this term when it comes to booking a trip for their clients. Word on the street says that the most common opinion in the industry is that authentic describes a feeling. Therefore, what is authentic for one person might not be as authentic to another.
The quest for authenticity is addictive to a lot of tourists. They would love to be in the front row while having a glimpse of a religious ceremony or a traditional village ritual and therefore not all cultural experiences are shared with tourists. For this experience a tour operator, guide or hotel must have a very good relationship with the community to be able to give their clients the opportunity to really experience the culture of a community. In most cases authenticity is staged by creating a pretend tribal village or cultural experiences to demonstrate what the culture is like but then they protect the community from intrusion and from being vulnerable just to create an authentic experience.
The authentic self is the soul made visible. Sarah Ban Breathnach
Reading about human psychology you learn that people create barriers to hide their hope, fears and insecurities from other people and this is called the “protected self” where the “unprotected self” reveals the soul and is seen as authentic. Therefore, a tourism destination that admits that it had a difficult past and shows you what shaped their present and future might be the best explanation of the word authentic in travel. Nowadays, sights like Airbnb invites people from all around the world to experience the local way by letting down their guard and inviting you into their homes. By this way, you have greater insights into how the locals live than by staying in a chain hotel.
“We are all different. Don’t judge, understand instead.” – Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Authentic travel is a personal thing and whatever you feel reveals the sense of a place or culture.