Seeking authenticity: Re-conceptualizing Adventure Tourism

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Lauren Nicole Duffy Jillisa Rae Overholt


Adventure tourism is often defined in terms of the perceived risk in the recreation activity undertaken. Yet researchers have noted that there are limitations in current definitions; specifically, many definitions that are centered on the perception of risk lack acknowledgement of the role of traveling to unfamiliar places, or the touristic factors that are at play. As such, the purpose of this paper is to explore the application of authenticity as a guiding framework for adventure tourism by recognizing that both adventure and tourism are historically rooted in the notion of escaping modernity and finding ones’ true self. Additionally, commodification of the setting and the experience are considered, with a particular focus on wilderness settings, are explored as they relate to a search for the authentic self. Conceptual and practical applications of a conceptualization of adventure within an authenticity framework are provided.

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