Title

A netnographic examination of constructive authenticity in Victoria Falls tourist (restaurant) experiences

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Mkono, M 2012, 'A netnographic examination of constructive authenticity in Victoria Falls tourist (restaurant) experiences', International Journal of Hospitality Management, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 387-394.

Published version available from:

http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.ijhm.2011.06.013

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

The concept of constructive authenticity is seen as encapsulating the subjective nature of authenticity evaluations in tourism experiences. However, very few studies discuss the notion in the context of cultural eatertainment. This paper presents a netnographic analysis of tourists’ restaurant reviews and examines how authenticity is projected onto cultural objects. Online tourist reviews of two popular Victoria Falls restaurants, namely Mama Africa Eating House and The Boma – Place of Eating, were downloaded and analysed. Findings demonstrate that tourists are concerned about authenticity of cultural representations in restaurant experiences, although their constructions of what constitutes “real” African culture are extremely fluid. The study also discusses the implications of findings for theory and practice, and offers suggestions for further enquiry.