ABSTRACT

Introduction Authenticity, the topic of this chapter, is certainly not a recent concern, nor is it confined to the realm of tourism. Since Plato, it has occupied a significant place in philosophical thought and has been a central theme in disciplines from religion and psychology to art and museum studies, to name a few. Nevertheless, there is

no doubt that tourism studies and the concept of authenticity share a special relationship. When the field of tourism studies began to take shape in the late 1970s, it did so in large part around the question of authenticity. Initial concerns about the impact of tourism development and touristic commodification on the authenticity of ‘primitive’ and fragile cultures soon developed into more metaphysical debates about tourism as a quest for authenticity, or authenticity as an existential experience.