TALKING AUTHENTICITY: WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCES DO SOLITARY TRAVELERS IN THE NORWEGIAN LOFOTEN ISLANDS REGARD AS AUTHENTIC?
Abstract:This article examines how the concept of authenticity is perceived by solitary travelers in the Norwegian Lofoten Islands. Its aim is twofold. First, it provides an exhaustive literature review on authenticity that calls for further empirical investigation. Second, it explores how tourists themselves come to regard their experiences as authentic or inauthentic. The basic assumption is that authenticity becomes a shared narrative that is guided by the discursive propositions that can also be found in Western thought in general as well as in the writings about tourism and among scholars. The suggestion is that authenticity—a key motive for tourism—should be explored as a feature attributed to experiences within a discursive framework, rather than as something given. To examine authentic experiences of solitary travelers, grounded theory, applying an emic approach, is employed to gather the necessary data. Based on in-depth interviews carried out with 45 solo travelers, three comprehensive authentic experiences are empirically identified (i.e., defined as such by the informants): social relations (meeting people), nature, and solitude/personal achievement (to be alone/do it myself).
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Finnmark University College, Norway
Publication date: January 1, 2003
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- Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.