Just within your breach: The authenticating discourses of Finnish wilderness destination marketing organizations
School of Business | Master's thesis
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AbstractAuthenticity has been widely regarded as a central topic to tourism research, as it is one of the main drivers behind tourists’ travel motivations. However, the research has largely focused on the tourist’s side, leaving authentication – the creation of authenticity – a less explored area, especially in the context of wilderness destinations. To address the gap in research, this thesis studies the different authenticating discourses used by five Finnish destination marketing organizations (DMOs) when promoting wilderness destinations on their websites. Through analysis of cultural practices, four authenticating discourses were found: Pristine Wilderness, Enchanted Reality, Transformed Life, and Affected Body. The discourses, with Pristine Wilderness acting as the framework for the other three discourses, aim to authenticate the destinations by constructing them as untamed and pure, magical, and full of existential pleasures and invigorating bodily sensations. It is claimed here that the discourses promise fulfillment of the fantasy of authenticity through what is here referred to as breaching, the renegotiation, and breaching, of known boundaries. Through breaching, the tourist is promised a transformation, either in the world perceived by the tourist, or within the tourist themselves – as the result of the transformation is either a more authentic world or a more authentic self. The thesis further consolidates the link between authenticity and wilderness and expands the study of authentication by introducing the four found authenticating discourses and the concept of breaching as a part of authentication.
Thesis advisorMikkonen, Ilona
authenticity, authentication, wilderness, tourism