My first reflections on authenticity came many years ago visiting the Swiss Family Robertson’s Tree House at Disneyland. From a distance I was impressed by the tree; its size and structure so convenient for hosting a tree house. It wasn’t until we were in the house and I touched the tree that I discovered it was made of concrete. I was both surprised and amused. I was surprised at how real the tree appeared. A true-to-life representation formed in concrete of a real object that was a subject in a fictional storey of a shipwrecked family based on the story of Robinson Crusoe thought to be based on the life of Alexander Selkirk, a castaway for four years on Más a Tierra, renamed as Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966 (Wikipedia).
Why do I care about authenticity? In my Project Statement I noted that “… tourism asks us to reflect on our understanding of authenticity …” More broadly, seeing authentic things, buildings, landscapes, peoples, cultures, are very often the objective of travel. The story above offers some sense of the challenge.