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Authenticity in Crompton’s Travels

As a result of Dean MacCannell’s popularisation of authenticity, it has become an essential part of tourist studies. Because of its vagueness and cultural presuppositions, “authenticity” has long been acknowledged in academic literature to be difficult to define. Tourists looking for authentic experiences and products regardless of gender, age, or socioeconomic status are a fast-growing section of the industry, according to Lozanski (2010). A growing number of travellers are dissatisfied with the monotony and contamination of typical tourist experiences. They’re looking for “genuine” people who may provide them with authentic connections to the places they visit. Kristin Lozanski’s idea of authenticity is compared to Matthew Crompton’s travel narrative “Into the Hills” in this study. Matthew Crompton, a writer and photographer, believes that nothing can match the variety of experiences found on the open road.

It is via these idealisations of intimacy and non-commodification that travellers create an authentic experience,” argues Lozanski. When it comes to “genuine” Indians and “real” visitors, these idealisations are intertwined with narrative representations of what elucidates to be “real” Indian. This means Crompton’s excursion to Kalighat and the Kali shrine is true to form. A goat is sacrificed in a sacrificial ceremony that he witnessed personally. In Lozanski’s article, she discusses narrative representations like these. When Crompton went to say farewell to Ronald, “Ronald broke into tears,” Crompton recalls. He said, “If you can, come, ok?” as his lips trembled as he tried to keep his composure. He was inconsolable, wailing in agony. It was awkward, but he accepted the handshake and the awkward hug, and then I went on my way.” Lozanski says this is a genuine Indian experience because of the intimacy involved. “Unlike tourists who are perceived to have superficial cultural encounters and may, at best, observe staged aspects of ‘cultural authenticity’ called into question by its public, enclave performance, many independent travellers judge meaningful cultural encounters through the private spontaneity that characterises intimacy” (Lozanski, 2010, p. 246-247).

Regarding land use and tenure decisions, “authenticity” can indicate how some perspectives of geography, time, and culture have a more significant impact than others. This quest for self-improvement is intertwined with the pursuit of Third World authenticity. The journey’s goal is to experience life from a different cultural perspective. As proof of their authenticity, independent travellers point to their pure interactions with people and the sites they see. According to Lozanski (2010), the absence of commercialisation, the development of separation, and the scarcity of other tourists who would kill originality are how this authenticity is achieved. “And I think: do I not travel because I too am full of wishing?” Crompton continues. Is it not because I believe India is still controlled by magic that I’ve come here? That you, like Lozanski, are interested in seeing India with only the natives and not other visitors suggests that you share Lozanski’s desire to travel alone.

Many people in the tourism industry are concerned about these concepts. Think about whether a cultural tourism site or a tourist viewer is more important in defining what constitutes authenticity in these kinds of scenarios. I think cultural tourist sites in terms of authenticity are the best way to approach this issue. Crompton visits the Kali temple in Calcutta, the monks in Darjeeling, and the high terrain of Barsey to verify the integrity of his excursions across diverse cultural places. The ongoing rebuilding and reenactment of cultures render them inauthentic, according to Lozanski. Tourism scholars might focus on the social processes and investments utilised to establish the authenticity of products and experiences rather than the seeming contradiction between the sacred/authentic and the profane/inauthentic. This can be done by distracting attention away from disagreements about what is authentic. This school of thought views Crompton’s trips as not authentic.

Authentic experiences in historical or cultural tourism destinations are significant to some, but they are viewed as a myth that has no place in today’s tourism. Here, we examine whether or not the authenticity of cultural tourism sites matters and the value of authenticity in cultural tourist destinations. Lozanski (2010) argues that the concept of visiting a “genuine” India is illusory and highly subjective. Cities’ chaos and rural communities’ s staleness serve as illuminating illustrations of how physical geographies contribute to this distinction. A recent study by Lozanski (2010) asserts that tourists interested in “primitive peoples” as a basis for a unique experience have a strong emotional attachment to the natural landscape they would encounter during their journeys (Lozanski, 2010, p. 758). Because of a perceived monotony or worse, a complete lack of culture and landscape in Western nations, the neocolonial construction of India and Indian landscapes as exotic and sensory tourism destinations is a response. As a result, some may conclude that Crompton was not authentic in exploring foreign locations.

Works Cited

“Best Travel Writing – Blog » Blog Archive » Grand Prize Gold Winner: Into The Hills”. Besttravelwriting.Com, 2022,

Lozanski, K. (2010). Defining ‘real India’: representations of authenticity in independent travel. Social Identities16(6), 741-762.


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