The title of this thread, and whether "you agree with this? unfortunately, lacks context and somewhat deflects away from what the blog is actually ultimately about and that is "authenticity" and certain tourists perception of what that is and how it motivates them in their travels. Regardless, it seems that most people who have read the blog have picked up on the message it ultimately conveys! (The idea of an "authentic culture" is a subjective notion that is sought by the tourist based on what they themselves perceive as authentic).
In this blog Paula (who is a self-proclaimed seeker of authenticity) labels those who do not seek out authenticity (because she believes they lack the necessary skills, knowledge - and location - to perceive it) as "Lonely Planet readers".
More broadly, In the examples I have used in this particular series of blogs, beginning with Uncontacted Tribes of Noble Savages
and ending with History begins with tourism, which then pollutes the world
– the traits “Indigenous People” are believed to possess or more significantly “maintain” are conflated with those of the Noble Savage of lore and taken for granted as truth. In this sense The Noble Savage is the embodiment of the tourists’ notion of the authentic; the more traits Indigenous people are assumed to share with the western notion of the Noble Savage the more authentic they are deemed, and the more attractive they are to the visiting tourist.
Tourists decide what is authentic and not, based on their own criteria, oftentimes setting standards over and above those which are considered authentic locally. For example, when a guide dons what he considers traditional garb in anticipation of visiting tourists, and decides to spruce it up with a smart white Lacoste™ shirt, he is unaware that the inch-long crocodile contamination ultimately de-authenticates him – and possibly the entire experience – in the eyes of visiting tourists.
Who is able to define something as authentic, and by which standards, is ultimately a construction of the present, and is therefore influenced by master narratives of the period, and therefore negotiable.
The irony is that the tourist who seeks the ”authentic” based on these stringent definitions is in a paradoxical search which can never really be achieved. As this theory presumes an uncontaminated authentic culture; an idea which reflects the motivations of tourists who also mostly assume an original, pure, authentic culture lays out there, to be discovered and experienced “off the beaten track”. Therefore, the tourists’ quest is a failed quest as the authenticity they seek contaminates, alters and ultimately destroys the very authentic they seek.
The tourist concern with authenticity, unlike anthropological insights about the constructed nature of culture and its traditions, sees non-Western cultures as intact until they are contaminated or destroyed through Western contact and commodification.
In reality, ALL cultures are staged, invented and remade and therefore inauthentic.
ALL cultures are alive and in process like a river which is constantly moving, and that which we enter in the middle.
There is no such thing as a virginal static uncontaminated culture.
All CULTURES ARE AUTHENTIC
As the quotes below astutely attest:
"perhaps what saw IS the authentic experience." littlewing
"If one was to travel to San Francisco they will have one experience if they have lunch or dinner at the Top of the Mark looking out over the city and another if they walk the city streets of Chinatown. For me, both are authentic---- " D MJ Binkley
"I don’t really feel that the lowest level of any society is an “authentic” experience of the place I visit or representative of any group of people in that society" Sojourner1208
" i'm not really sure that seeing the poorer side of a culture is what a culture is." tamnandfamily
"In France, which on of the following three is more authentic? Dining in a three star michelin, having lunch in a brasserie, or buying you food on the local market? Guess what, all of them!" Pierre
"there is so much that smacks you around for culture when you are in a new place that it really can't be missed." Dymphna