When we visit a resort, we enter a space manufactured to be comfortable, relaxing, to fulfill a dream of some sort. It is a Manufactured Dreamscape. The dreamscape encourages us to look at it, to see and interpret what we see; to gaze. The dreamscape makes claims, if not only metaphorically, that support the marketing of the destination. Symbols, embedded in the architecture, by the locale, by the hosts, the architecture, the white sandy beaches, the race of the locals, each acting as a lens skewing how we interpret what we see; they reinforce tourist clichés. The physical representation of the dreamscape is elaborated by our subjective interpretations; the terms and phrases used suggest cultural references, exploiting our assumptions of what this place should be, and tint the lens of our perception. “Gazing is not merely seeing, but involves cognitive work of interpreting, evaluating, drawing comparisons and making mental connections between signs and their referents, and capturing signs photographically” (The Tourist Gaze 3.0, page 17)
The gaze however privileges sight over the other senses, feeling the heat and humidity, smelling the salt in the air, tasting the spices in the food, hearing the birds or the crash of the surf.
The resort is real, the heat is real, the birds and beaches are real, but the question of authenticity comes from their interpretation and configuration, that all these things are conveniently put together. It is all manufactured.