How to Build a Lasting Authentic Perception in Tourism Business

Textbook, 2022

177 Pages, Grade: 1

Andy Marjoko (Author)





Chapter 1. Why Authentic Perception
1.1 What This Book is About
1.2 Defining Tourism
1.3 Cultural Tourism
1.4 The Dilemma in Cultural Tourism
1.5 In Search of a Sustainable Differentiation

Chapter 2. So, What is "Authentic"?
2.1 The Demands and Importance of Authenticity
2.2 Backgrounds and Consequences of Authenticity
2.3 Approaches to Authenticity in Tourism
2.4 Applying Perceived Authenticity in Tourism

Chapter 3. How Perceptions Fluctuate
3.1 Expectation Confirmation/Disconfirmation Theory
3.2 The Temporal Effects in Social Contexts
3.3 The Fluctuations of Perceived Authenticity (FOPA)
3.4 Managing the Fluctuations

Chapter 4. Understanding Traveler's Backgrounds
4.1 Demography
4.2 Mode of Travel (Solo/Group)
4.3 Economy
4.4 Socio-Cultural
4.5 Travel Competence
4.6 Other backgrounds
4.7 Aligning Backgrounds with Perception-Affecting Factors

Chapter 5. Managing Affecting Factors
5.1 Trust
5.2 Objects
5.3 Structural Factors
5.4 TTI
5.5 TLI
5.6 Activities
5.7 Learnings
5.8 Between Affecting Factors and Traveler's Strategies

Chapter 6. How They React: Traveler's Strategies
6.1 Networking
6.2 Exploratory behavior
6.3 Itinerary change
6.4 Increased anxiety
6.5 Acceptance
6.6 Wrapping Up Traveler's Strategies

Chapter 7. Different Place, Different Approach?
7.1 MGA Results between Bali and Alsace
7.2 Traveler's Strategies to Improve/Impair Perceptions
7.3 From Final Perceptions to Behavioral Intentions
7.4 Conclusion

Chapter 8. Make FOPA Work for Your Tourism Site
8.1 Lasting Authentic Perceptions in a Nutshell
8.2 PDCA/PERI for Sustainability
8.3 Composing the Perception Management Program (PMP)
8.4 What We Will Achieve




"Now more than ever, the authentic is what consumers really want. Authenticity has overtaken quality as the prevailing purchasing criterion, just as quality overtook cost, and as cost overtook availability," wrote Gilmore and Pine. This is particularly true in tourism. And despite the sharp decline due to Covid-19 pandemic, making 2020 "the worst period in tourism," analysts predict tourism will bounce back and resurrect in 2024.

Although The Economist reports business travels will never recover to pre-pandemic level due to massive digitalization, leisure travels will. Problem is that business travels used to subsidize leisure ones. The fall out of business travels will increase the prices of leisure ones. Competition among destinations will be tight, customers' positive words of mouth and repeat consumption will become even more important. In this book, you'll find the most powerful timeless differentiation to achieve them is an authentic perception that's built to last.

Now is exactly the perfect time to start preparing, making the most out of the crisis. Science shows lasting authentic perception on your tourism business is a great long-term investment. It's an opportunity to do better tourism, an opportunity to cure the "diseases" leading to unsustainable one.

Enjoy new discoveries revealed in this book. They might be as surprising as the use of advanced smartphone technologies, if done correctly, can help us enhance authentic perceptions. And finally, make the book work for you by following it up with the Perception Management Program in Chapter 8. Share your experiences or ask questions by email to:


ATM : Automatic Teller Machine

ECT/EDT : Expectation Confirmation/Disconfirmation Theory

EU : European Union

FOPA : Fluctuations of Perceived Authenticity

ISO : International Standard Organization

MGA : Multi-Group Analysis

PBA : Perceived Brand Authenticity

PDCA : Plan-Do-Check-Act

PLS : Partial Least Squares

PERI : Plan-Execute-Review-Improve, synonym of PDCA

PMP : Perception Management Program

RDV : Route Des Vins

SEM : Structural Equation Modeling

STP : Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning

UN : United Nations

UNWTO : United Nations' World Tourism Organization

TLI : Tourist-Locals Interactions

TTI : Tourist-Tourist Interactions

WOM : Word of mouth

WTTC : World Travel & Tourism Council

WTP : Willingness to pay

Chapter 1.Why Authentic Perception

We know tourism is a big industry. In its 2020 annual report, World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) mentions the contribution of travel and tourism to the world GDP reached 10.6% (US$ 8.8 trillion) in 2019. The sector provides 334 million jobs worldwide, or equally 1 every 10 jobs on the planet. Spending of international visitors amounted US$ 1.7 trillion in 2019[85]. These figures suddenly suffered from a sharp decline in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic, on which UNWTO reports a fell by 75% of tourism arrivals.

However, in its recent analysis, The Economist predicts international travels will return to its pre-pandemic level in 2024[86]. This will especially apply to leisure travels, while business travels will remain gloomy due to revolutionary digitalization in doing business. Thus, despite 2020 being "the worst year in tourism history," preparing for the resurrection of tourism in 2024 must be done during the low period. Consider the period of travel restrictions a healing period, a wise usage of the crisis. It's an opportunity for us to do it better. It's a great investment that will pay sustainably in the long run. Reform for a more authentic perception, towards more sustainable benefits to all stakeholders. And this is why this book was written.

1.1 What This Book is About

As Gilmore and Pine wrote: "Now more than ever, the authentic is what consumers really want."[37] This book will help you build a lasting authentic perception of your tourism business. This Chapter-1 will start with why we should do it. And because "authenticity" is a complex term, the next Chapter-2 guides us into the jungle of authenticity and helps define which approach is suitable for today's tourism business.

The core "meat" of the book starts in Chapter-3, which shows that the authentic perception is not static. It fluctuates. Understanding how it fluctuates is the key to keep an authentic perception last. Here we get introduced to a comprehensive empirical model named FOPA (Fluctuations of Perceived Authenticity) framework and its building blocks. This is really the what of our theme: authentic perceptions. The remaining chapters will bring us to the how: They'll guide us step by step to manage the variables involved in a lasting authentic perception. It's concluded by Chapter-8, the last chapter, which summarizes the process and provide an actionable program to get the most out of this book.

This book is a result of FOPA research that took five years in tourism destinations of Bali, Indonesia, and of Alsace, France. One of the beauties of FOPA research is that it was 360 degrees in nature. The data and analyses encompassed points of views from different tourism stakeholders: From local communities, government, businesses, and (most importantly) the tourist itself. An extensive work was done for "digging" into travelers' minds, revealing how they perceive authenticity existentially, and how their perceptions fluctuate. Thus, our improvement programs will mainly be driven by people who perceive our tourism businesses.

Lastly, FOPA research focused on cultural tourism because it's one of the most rapidly developing branches of tourism[2]. Therefore, cultural tourism is the domain of tourism in which this book perfectly fits. However, with a bit of creativity, most parts of this book can easily be applied to other domains of tourism. As long as the objective is to be sustainable. And although the scope of FOPA research covered a wide geographical area, the findings can also be applied in smaller scopes, such as a village, a specific tourism object (museum, cultural park), or even a complex of villas. We will arrive to this, later in this chapter.

1.2 Defining Tourism

The term "tourism" is complex by itself and has been defined differently in many ways. However, the United Nations' World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has agreed upon a set of basic yet comprehensive concepts on tourism. Instead of defining tourism in a single sentence, the UN's body refers tourism as the activities of tourists traveling out from their normal place of residence, consequently tourism itself is a subset of travel[77].

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Figure 1.1. Classifications of Inbound Travelers

(Source: UNWTO[77])

Thus, the UNWTO's definition of tourists is best explained by Figure 1.1. Tourists are inbound visitors whose purpose of their travels are those enclosed in the shaded rectangle on the left, and they stay overnight at the main destination. However, UNWTO states that the visitors do not need to stay overnight to be qualified as a tourism visit. The document suggests countries to define their own minimum duration of stays. Therefore, we can also set our own minimum duration for travelers to qualify as "tourists." Those who don't stay overnight (or shorter than our set minimum duration) are called excursionists. While inbound travelers whose purpose are listed on the right, i.e., not enclosed in the shaded rectangle, are categorized as other inbound travelers, neither tourists nor excursionists[77].

While to elaborate the "normal place of residence," UNWTO suggests classifying the visitors based on their country of residence. While an inbound or outbound trip is one with the main destination is outside the country of residence, an inbound domestic trip is also included in this book. It is one when the main destination is within the visitors' country of residence. Outbound tourism is out of the scope of this book, and thus are not included in the definitions. And because we exclude travelers whose purposes are outside the red rectangle on Figure 1.1, then "traveler" and "tourist" can be used interchangeably in this book.

1.3 Cultural Tourism

Cases in this book are based on FOPA research, which chose cultural tourism as its focus, because recent surveys found that cultural tourism has been accounted for roughly 40% of the international tourism arrivals[67], [58]. Some scholars also mention cultural tourism as modern tourism industry’s most dynamically developing branch[22]. From a research, Chhabra confirms the trend of the growing demand: “Demand trends – heritage tourism continues to grow as more and more people are interested in peeking into the past and cultures of the ‘other’."[19] However, the better we understand the themes presented in the following chapters, the clearer we'll see the principles can fit well in other branches of sustainable tourism.

Illustrative photographs from cultural destinations in Bali that were studied to build this book are given in Figure 1.2.

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Figure 1.2. Pura Ulun Danu, Jatiluwih, Tanah Lot and Besakih, Bali


A "culture" is another complex term and has been defined in many ways for different purposes. However, this research employs the definition used by anthropology. In this discipline, as written in Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a culture is defined as "An integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations."[54]. Detailing the definition further in anthropology, a culture is known to have three different forms:

a- Ideological culture (value system)
b- Behavioural culture
c- Material culture.

Given the two complex terms, culture and tourism, the compound "cultural tourism" creates another complex meaning. Richards studied various references and found two approaches in defining cultural tourism: conceptual and technical. It summarizes the two definitions of cultural tourism as below[66]:

a. Conceptual definition: "The movement of persons to cultural attractions away from their normal place of residence, with the intention to gather new information and experiences to satisfy their cultural needs";
b. Technical definition: "All movements of persons to specific cultural attractions, such as heritage sites, artistic and cultural manifestations, arts and drama outside their normal place of residence";

Despite its practical use, Richards criticize the technical approach as a "list of activities." However, both definitions are useful in this book. To maintain a strong conceptual understanding, the conceptual one is used as the main definition in this book. In parallel, the technical definition is used as a guideline when applying the concepts in the fields.

The majority of case studies in this book came from a culturally rich destination of Bali in Indonesia. The island was chosen by Trip Advisor as the “World’s Best Destination 2017” [76]. It has long been known as the “last paradise on earth”. Not only because of its landscapes, but also its unique culture and people. People say Balinese people have reached self-content[6].

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Figure 1.3. Typical Vineyards and Alsace Houses

(photos: Andimarjoko[2])

However, to enrich the framework and its applications while ensuring a transferability, the culturally touristic destination of Alsace in Eastern France is also discussed. Figure 1.3 shows illustrative photographs from three cultural tourism destinations in Routes-des-Vins d’Alsace in the wine region of Alsace, France. The first two photographs on the left were taken in Barr, the third in Mittelbergheim, and the last was taken in Andlau. The Alsace sub region, now part of a bigger region Grand-Est (Great East), is among those investigated in this book.

Bali and Alsace are geographically distant and culturally different but sharing a number of similarities in their backgrounds. They are unique compared to their surroundings. Bali has a majority Hindu population surrounded by Muslim-majority neighbors in Java and Lombok. On the other side of the world, the ‘complex’ position of the heritage Alsace language, having a Germanic root, can be an example of a challenge to Alsace’ cultural identity. The language has been facing the dominance of French, German and English[32]. The recent integration of Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine into a single Grand-Est region, raises a question to the future of Alsace identity. Figure 1.4 below shows a cartoon circulating in an Alsacian group within a social media. Through humor, the cartoon describes Alsace's unique identity of being neither a part of France nor Germany.

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Figure 1.4. A Humor Cartoon Describing the Unique Alsace Identity

(Source: Facebook, 2019)

And finally, as any other successful brands, Bali and Alsace are tempting to be extended into many categories. While the potential drawback of a brand extension is brand dilution, in which the brand lacks identification with any one category, resulting in a weakened image[36].

This book focuses on the discussions about cultural tourism, but the concepts and techniques can be applied in other tourism domains. As long as the goal is to be sustainable. For example, later we'll talk about tourists who have cultural motifs in cultural tourism. In ecotourism, the "who have cultural motifs" can be replaced with "who have environmental motifs." In consequence: We are against mass tourism. More in the discussions below.

1.4 The Dilemma in Cultural Tourism

From the marketing perspective, in cultural tourism a place is a brand. And the culture itself is a “product” to be “consumed." Being consumed, a product is subject to commoditization[51],[83]. Also "Places are branded and becoming objects of consumption; both symbolically as objects for hungry tourists and concretely as they are reconstructed as consumption sites. In addition, they play the role of a cultural context for consumption." mentions Urry[37].

For that reason, tourism has often been condemned for spoiling the authenticity of heritage. Profit-driven objectives of organizers and promoters of heritage tourism activities are responsible for this cultural degradation to some extent[18]. “It has been observed all around the world: massive tourism and an authentic and living indigenous culture simply cannot coexist.” states Lietaer and DeMeulenaere[45]. The growing demand will continue to impose a drain on heritage resources and living cultures[19]. An example from Europe, by qualitative research in Austria, Paschinger’s observation on authenticity in cultural heritage found the problem of the overwhelming impact of mass tourism. For example, this problem does not allow a guide to continue focusing fully on the group. It also restricts the possibility of having different types of visits by different kinds of target groups (e.g., pupils, adults). There is not enough space or time to deal with all of them in full[62].

In Bali, once starting to observe, one can notice Bali's tourism activities are concentrated in the southern coastline, mainly in Badung regency. The regency covers a number of beach tourism objects, such as Kuta, Seminyak, Canggu, Uluwatu, Nusa Penida and Nusa Dua. The second busiest is Ubud area in the heartland, part of Gianyar regency.

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Figure 1.5. Social Media Posts: Traffic in Kuta (Left) and Nusa Penida (Right), Bali

(Source: Facebook, 2019)

Evidence of mass tourism is clearly visible in those areas. One can immediately recognize it from the traffic, the number of tourists, and locals who work in tourism enterprises or provide services such as transportation, money changers or souvenir shops. Figure 1.5 represents complaints on social media about traffics in hot spot areas. Traffics, and growth of traffics, can be predicted to have a potential in affecting the perceptions.

On the other side, the author also conducted interviews with several Balinese tour operators. One common thought shared among them about the difference in their businesses between 1980-1990s and today, is "The quantity of tourists now increased, while the quality decreased." "Quality" is their term for the willingness to pay (WTP). In the past, they were able to earn sufficient amount of money by serving certain number of tourists. Today, the same value of money can only be earned by serving a significantly more tourists. The latter is indeed a sign of mass tourism.

An observation on both social media posts and field situations was then performed. Intercity public transportations were very limited, if not non-existent. For example, from Denpasar to Karangasem, there was only a small bus servicing the route once a day. The options for tourists are taxis, hiring a private car with driver, or renting a self-drive car or scooter. This drives some strategies like on Figure 1.6 below.

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Figure 1.6. Posts on Finding Low-Cost Transportation

(Source: Facebook, 2019)

The left part of the figure is an example of a "bid" thrown by a tourist to obtain the lowest cost possible. The tourist was looking for a private car with driver from Ubud to Padang Bai harbor. Such drive takes around one hour, and a private car normally costs 300,000 Rupiah (around 19 Euros at the current exchange rate). The lowest offer she received was 200,000 (around 12 Euros), and she still looked for a competition among drivers to bring the price down. The right-hand part of the figure illustrates a different strategy. A tourist was looking for a better price by sharing a private car with others. Instead of paying 300,000 Rupiah, he could save 250,000 by sharing the car with five others.

Efforts in trying to bring costs down were not limited to transportations only. For example, in finding the cheapest laundry service on Figure 1.7 below.

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Figure 1.7. A Social Media Post on Finding Low-Cost Services

(Source: Facebook, 2019)

Even Alsace in France faces a challenge from mass tourism to some extent, as revealed by some interviews. In 2017, an Alsace village named Kaysersberg, was entitled “Preferred village in France”[13]. Previously in 2013, Eguisheim was also given the same predicate. On the positive side, it attracts tourists to the village, benefitting the economy. On the negative side, residents feel disturbed by visitors, for instance as simple as in finding a parking space for their cars. It's also revealed the tourism attracts businesspeople from other parts of France, meaning some businesses serving tourists in the village were not owned by locals.

Interviews with wine producers also indicates the mass tourism could affect the strategy of wine productions, in terms of authenticity. With the wine-producing villages becoming famous, they attract tourists from different parts of the world. Not all of them understand or want to understand about Alsace wines, for them it's enough that "It's Alsace". It has caused them to buy wines from a low-quality variety because they're much less expensive. Instead of buying a Grand Cru for 25 Euro a bottle, they tend to choose a cheap one for 5 Euro or less, coming from bulk production with the lowest grade of grapes. Producers have a concern that the condition will encourage wineries to focus on making low quality bulk wines and "neglect" traditionally high-quality ones such as Grand Cru or Premier Cru. One can question this phenomenon by relating to the "correct" segment in cultural tourism, i.e. those who have cultural motifs, in this case it's a wine-related culture[39].

This situation, according to some producers, has been worsened by the integration of EU (European Union) regulations in wine productions. France has long traditionally developed and maintained stringent rules in wine quality, as an important part of its culture. EU regulations on the other hand, have to accommodate member states that don't have a wine culture as advanced as that of France. It results in a more "relaxed" set of standards, which could make French producers feel "allowed" to produce lower quality wines.

On the other hand, as mentioned by Viard, "No one culture can successfully exist without contact with other cultures."[69]. Thus, one should never neglect the interaction between tourists and the host. Due to the nature of tourism, they are continuously in contact. While assessing the social and cultural impacts of tourism, Robinson and Picard also point out that today’s contact can be indirect. The role of other media in the cultural changes can be inevitable[69].

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Figure 1.8. Social Media Posts on Cultural-Related Issues

(Source: Facebook, 2019)

This kind of problem with interactions was revealed in Bali through an interview with a Pemangku Pura (a responsible chief of a Hindu temple) in a village in Karangasem, the author learnt about strict rules applied to Balinese pemedek (worshippers) who participate in the temple's religious ceremonies. Not only the way everybody dresses, but also the physical condition (e.g., a woman on period is not allowed to enter a pura), where to sit, where to stand, and other rules. Those rules are written and called awig-awig in Balinese cultural system. In the interview, he also expressed his concerns on the inability of Pecalang (the Balinese cultural security officers) to explain the rules to foreign visitors, due to language barriers.

Among other forms of cultural changes such as diffusion and assimilation, the interaction between visitors and host is similar to acculturation or "culture contact" as described by anthropologists. The anthropological studies of acculturations started to be popular in 1910 - 1920[38]. Further, it is also stated that before 1920, anthropology exposed only customs/behaviors that were already effectively in place in a certain society. The anomalies shown by certain individuals were not subjects of interest to anthropologists. This approach changed in 1920. Anthropologists realized these "outliers" sometimes become a root of changes in a culture. Upon such anomaly, the society will first "punish" it through its control mechanism. But when the anomaly persists, it is subject to happen again (recurrence). After several recurrences, the society finally must give its concession[38].

Robinson and Picard further emphasize the role of media in the indirect interactions. With the advent of new media such as internet, the impact can become even more severe. These exchanges have long been realized and many governments have applied policy to "protect" the culture[69]. However, such cultural exchange is not always negative. In fact, it can enrich and strengthen the culture, while maintaining the perceived authenticity. For example, in the case of Balinese paintings, which used to be simple ones. Through the interactions with visitors and foreign artists, sophistication process took place. And the result is the sophisticated paintings seen today, while they are still strongly perceived as authentic Balinese[63].

To model the above cultural exchange, Böhm elaborates the cultural interactions in tourism by incorporating previous findings by Bodley[10]. It describes the exchange as happening in the three forms of a culture system: material, behavioral and ideological or value system. The elaboration can be visualized as the diagram on Figure 1.9 below.

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Figure 1.9. Intercultural Exchange between Host and Visitors

(Source: Böhm[10])

Changes and adaptations are most frequent at the outer level (1), as local people are willing to modify their offers to satisfy the tourists’ needs. Exchange occurring at this level is based on economics[10]. Changes in behavior, language and other issues in the behavioral culture (2) occur less easily and requires more time. And the modifications on the ideological level only occur over long periods. Constant and long-lasting influences of tourism lead to a longer term, gradual change in a society’s values, beliefs and cultural practices (3). If interactions between visitors and the host culture result in changes in any of the fundamental factors of cultural value, a penetration to the value system has taken place[10].

In seeking for external influences on the culture, an interview with a village wood sculpture artist in Karangasem revealed an example. He drew two sketches of a Balinese "Patra Punggel" carving motif, shown in Figure 1.10. The sketch on the left is a sketch of an original motif of Patra Punggel in Bali, which has been practiced for generations. While the one on the right already has a foreign influence from French sculpture. According to the artist, it started when a Balinese carving artist went to an art school in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and learned international streams of arts. He then came back to Bali after graduation, introduced some changes that became popular across the island.

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Figure 1.10. Artist’s Sketch of a Native and French-influenced Balinese Carvings

(Source: Andimarjoko[2])

In Alsace, the author also observed some changes following interactions. One example is caused by a common perception among tourists that Alsace only produces "white" variety of wines, for instance from grapes of Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Gewurtztraminer types. As opposed to Bordeaux and Bourgogne that are more "red wine regions." said the travel website Alsace Wine Tour[1]. The problem is Alsace also produces red wines from Pinot Noir grapes. Even if the quality is good, Alsace red wines are in a difficult position to compete in the market because Alsace is perceived as a "white wine region."

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Figure 1.11. Traditional shapes of wine bottles: Alsace and Bourgogne

(Source: Andimarjoko[2])

The strategy taken by producers of Alsace Pinot Noir was to change the shape of its bottles from the "authentic Alsace" slandered shape on Figure 1.11 left, to that of Bourgogne on the right. "That would give Alsace Pinot Noir an opportunity to be considered in the market", said Valérie Beyer (40), a winery owner in Eguisheim.

In many cases, tourism is an unbalance process of intercultural exchange. In general, the greater the cultural difference between the host and the visitor, the more severe the socio-cultural impacts will be. On the other hand, the bigger the contrast, the more exotic and attractive the host culture is perceived by potential visitors[10].

For the case of Bali, scholars question whether the recent trend to develop mega-projects can be reversed, and that with the Indonesian Law on Regional Autonomy implemented in 2001, “district heads are more than ever eager to attract big-scale investments to their region”[31]. Another adds further concern for Bali: “Tourism is big business and eventually evolving into mass tourism comes with fear of overshadowing Bali’s history and traditional culture. There were talks about cultural degradation and cultural pollution, implying mass tourism would lead to less cultural diversity and transforming the island into an asset in the needs of the tourism industry.”[71].

In contrast, some researchers found a few cases with more liberated view upon the issue. For example, Chew in 2009 found the local residents in Hong Kong generally embrace the neoliberal ideology of Hong Kong society. They think the economic benefits they are gaining from the commercialized and commoditized festival justify the negative consequences. Local residents also feel sufficiently empowered by economic profits even though they are politically and socially disempowered in moderate ways[17].

The above discussion has brought cultural tourism into its dilemma: Shall we maximize the economic return, or preserve the indigenous culture to nurture its social functions? This dilemma was the main trigger of problematic addressed by FOPA research, i.e., the fluctuations of perceived authenticity, presented in the following paragraphs.

1.5 In Search of a Sustainable Differentiation

To model the marketing system of cultural tourism, one can combine the diagram for simple marketing system from Kotler and Keller's textbook[41] and the conceptual model built by Kolar and Zabkar in 2010[39]. The result is a simple conceptual model consisting a few constructs as Figure 1.12.

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Figure 1.12. Simplified Model of The Marketing of Cultural Tourism

(Elaborated from Kotler & Keller[41], and Kolar and Zabkar[39])

Construct no. 1 represents the demand created by needs and wants from the market. The demand for cultural tourism has always been closely linked with socio-economic position[66]. People from higher social classes in general have greater access to the means of cultural tourism participation (such as higher levels of income and mobility) as well as having the cultural capital necessary to facilitate participation[66]. Kolar and Zabkar went more specific, finding the demand is generated by cultural motif[39].

Construct no. 2 represents the supply side, i.e. the cultural tourism destinations. Each destination is a brand, and thus has its culture as a product. Maccarrone-Eaglen applies the product hierarchy to culture as a product[51].

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Figure 1.13. Product Hierarchy of Culture as a Tourism Product

(Source: Maccarrone-Eaglen[51])

As a product, culture presents a unique configuration with a construct of four different dimensions highlighting the need for special consideration in culture’s marketing process. The dimensions are the levels of product theory: essence of product, real product, processed real product, and additional product. The paper derived the product hierarchy model as Figure 1.13 above, with “Enhancement of knowledge” be the essence of product in cultural tourism.

In explaining the cultural aspects of tourism, we should remember that culture is based on symbols that are understood among people from the same society and communicates certain ideas, feelings and attitudes. Culture is not inherited but learned and taught. The process of transmitting cultural values and behaviors to members of the society is referred to as enculturation. Further, to concretize the concept of culture within tourism, we can use the three forms of a culture from anthropology: (1) Material culture, refers to all elements commercialized and explicitly offered to tourist. It is the “visible part” of the culture, like the tip of an iceberg; (2) Behavioral culture, which means the attitude and behavior of the host culture. It includes factors associated to social life; (3) Ideological culture, the central value systems of a society, ideologies, religions and beliefs. It is the central part of the culture)[10].

Construct no. 1 and Construct no. 2 meet with the aim to achieve satisfaction (Construct no. 4). A specific summary of satisfaction in cultural tourism would be like “The satisfaction of the consumer needs could also be summarized as ‘education’; this implies enhancement of viewpoints, widening of horizons, development of skills, awareness and analysis, retention or rejection of information received.” [51]

Finally, Construct no. 3 is an intermediate variable. It consists of the differentiation of the brand (i.e., destination) and its product (i.e., the culture) must provide in order to achieve the highest satisfaction of the visitors. For example, as stated by Paschinger: "Whereas once the ‘heritage tourism product’ has been considered rather self-sufficient, today no such product can stay on the market nor remain competitive without implementing strategies that focus attention on the customer."[62]

The options are limitless. However, this book has a core foundation of sustainability. And thus, the best approach is the one that ensures sustainability since it will give the highest lifecycle value. This is confirmed by the “Triple bottom line” concept, which is commonly visualized as the following figure.

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Figure 1.14. Triple Bottom Line

(Source: Andimarjoko[2])

In tourism industry, the “People: Social Performance” part translates to social and cultural sustainability. The industry also pioneered the initiative of saving the planet by developing eco-tourism, which then expanded into sustainable tourism[82].

Therefore, the goal is not to have as many tourists as possible. The goal is to attract the “correct” segment and create a satisfaction for them. Correct segment means the segment with the “correct” motif, i.e. the cultural motif for cultural tourism or environmental motif for eco-tourism. Recent studies confirm authenticity as the mediating construct. Thus, although the process of cultural consumption leads to cultural appreciation as observed by Billore in 2019, it requires that the tourists be driven by cultural motifs in conducting the travel[8],[39].

On the other hand, consumers are confronted with increasing commercialization, an overflow of the fake, and an omnipresence of meaningless market offers[56]. To overcome with this meaninglessness, consumers look for brands that are relevant, original, and genuine: they increasingly search for authenticity in brands. This is supported by Gilmore and Pine in 2007, stating "Authenticity has overtaken quality as the prevailing purchasing criterion, just as quality overtook cost, and as cost overtook availability."[56] and even "Now more than ever, the authentic is what consumers really want."[37]

Additionally, Chhabra also posits the trend of growing demand for authenticity. Consumer decisions today are “based on how real they perceive the product/service offering to be”[19]. Also, researchers found that authenticity is one of the most important, and possibly one of the most complex, marketing constructs that have emerged in the literature in the past few decades[29].

The above discussion brings forward a crucial element for a "place branding," particularly in the context of cultural tourism marketing: authenticity as the sustainable differentiation. It attracts tourists with "correct" segments, having the "correct" motifs and thus they contribute to sustainability[37]. And this book was written to help us achieve it for our tourism business.

Chapter 2. So, What is "Authentic"?

Now we have found authenticity as a sustainable differentiation in tourism. Unfortunately, the word "authentic" itself is a complex and relative term. Let's explore the term starting from its demand and importance, followed by its evolution, then its applications in tourism.

2.1 The Demands and Importance of Authenticity

As mentioned in previous chapter, the goal in cultural tourism is not to have as many tourists as possible. The goal is to attract the “correct” segment and create the highest value to them, which in return will promote sustainable tourism. Correct segment means the segment with the “correct” motif, i.e., the cultural motif, and authenticity as the sustainable differentiation to attract them.

While to understand the reason why people demand authenticity, Carroll and Wheaton suggest three possible driving motifs, namely: (a) The reaction to a perceived loss from personalized self within a mass contemporary society, (b) People want self-expression by purchasing a product from a small producer that is not widely known, (c) People may use authenticity to create a status. Because consumers are confronted with increasing commercialization, an overflow of the fake, and an omnipresence of meaningless market offers. To overcome with this meaninglessness, consumers look for brands that are relevant, original, and genuine: they increasingly search for authenticity in brands[15],[56].


Excerpt out of 177 pages


How to Build a Lasting Authentic Perception in Tourism Business
University of Upper Alsace
Catalog Number
ISBN (Book)
Hospitality And Tourism Management, Travel And Tourism Management, Tourism Management And Marketing, Tourism Marketing Book, Destination Management, Tourism Marketing Strategies, Tourism Marketing Plan, Perceived Authenticity, Tourism Strategic Management, Best Tourism Books, Tourism Strategic Plan, Marketing Book Recommendation, Hospitality Industry, Destination Marketing, Hospitality Books Online
Quote paper
Andy Marjoko (Author), 2022, How to Build a Lasting Authentic Perception in Tourism Business, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • guest 4 days ago

    A practical book. Chapter 2 gives clear explanations to understand what "authentic" really means and (more importantly) how it applies to travel and tourism business. Chapter 3 to 7 explain the details of how a tourist's perception fluctuates during a journey. Chapter 8 gives clear guidelines on how to build the authentic perception in our business, and (more importantly) how to make it last.

  • guest 11 days ago

    So far it's the only book I've read that can explain why the perception of authenticity can fluctuate during the journey of a traveler. If somebody arrives at a destination with a highly favorable perception, not necessarily it will stay that way. At the end of the visit, it could become very low, and vice versa. This book explains how, and more importantly, guides us how to keep them elevated. A nice handbook.

  • guest 20 days ago

    Authenticity could be a very complex and challenging subject, but this book makes it very clear in Chapter 2. The following chapters explain how to use the knowledge in tourism context. Also in a very clear way. The book itself is "authentic" because it presents an original scientific discovery and its applications. A high value for money.

  • guest 23 days ago

    This book reveals hidden phenomena impacting perceived authenticity of a tourism destination. An invaluable resource for building a sustainably high perception of authenticity in tourism business. Highly recommended.

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