African and western tourists: object authenticity quest

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Mkono, M 2013, 'African and western tourists: object authenticity quest', Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 41, pp. 195-214.

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The study draws from netnography and participant observation to compare the subjective importance of object authenticity between African and Western tourists, in their encounters with staged culture in Zimbabwe. Thus it challenges the status quo, being one of a few studies in which Africans are represented as tourists. The paper then argues that, in its object-related sense, authenticity has limited usefulness for African tourists. It is suggested that, for them, rather than authenticity, aesthetics and artistry are more meaningful criteria for evaluating cultural performances. Therefore, object authenticity is not universally relevant as a touristic quest. In contrast to African tourists, however, Western tourists were preoccupied with evaluating object authenticity and uncovering “deceit” in staged culture.

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