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All posts tagged Authenticity

Can a Trip Ever Be ‘Authentic’?

Indonesian tourists pose in front of members of the Stone Age Dani tribe in West Papua, New Guinea. The tribe maintains many of its costumes and traditions — and charges visitors for the honor of observing them. Credit Susan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

In a globalized age — when a McAloo Tikki is just as Indian as the Taj Mahal — has the very word lost its meaning?

I once spent an unforgettable day in the traveler’s treasure-house that is Sana’a, capital of Yemen. Stained-glass windows glittered from thickets of high tower-houses as night began to fall, and khat-chewing men with daggers at their sides haggled furiously in the Salt Market. Clay walls surrounded one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on the planet, where groups of turbaned shopkeepers headed toward 1,400-year-old mosques as the call to prayer echoed through the dusk. It wasn’t hard to feel, amid the dusty lanes of a large section of town that’s now a Unesco World Heritage Site, that nothing had changed since the Prophet’s time; here, I decided, was the Old World, all slowness and prayer and tribal custom, in stark opposition to the fast-forward, hyperconnected, young society I know in California. By Pico Iyer. Read more.

By the end of our time in Southern Africa, we thought we were African safari gurus. I mean, what first-time Africa travelers go on over 40 safari drives in one visit? From Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta, to Kruger Park proper and the surrounding wildlife reserves, we thought we knew the drill. Then we went to Tanzania, and our whole concept of how a safari works went straight out the window. There are some big differences, and advantages and disadvantages to both. By Emily Deemer. Read more.

Photo: Eric Rock

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Poorism tourism: A highly unethical new trend in travel?

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Those seeking a chance to see how the other half live, can now pay to go on special tours of the poorest neighbourhoods in the world. “Poorism” is the latest trend in tourism that invites people to find authenticity in a destination by looking at its most impoverished areas. Some examples of the tours include a trip to the Bronx, Brazil’s Favelas, the townships of South Africa and New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. While this type of tourism strives for authenticity, some are coming out and saying it is unethical and exploitative voyeurism. CBC Books. Read more.

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