Authenticity is discussed and considered relevant in a number of different tourism enterprises. Authenticity has had a strong, but debated conceptual role in tourism, while from a heritage management perspective it has been conceptualised according to more practical implications. In this dissertation, authenticity is mainly related to the information advertised in marketing and to the potential role of a new authenticity conceptualisation based on compromise. The discussion also considers the possible effects on Sámi tourism and Sámi culture.
Sámi tourism companies are involved in issues concerning authenticity, but from a slightly different perspective than the ones usually advanced in research. Sámi cultural heritage has been a relevant attraction for several decades and many issues have been identified with the use of Sámi culture in Nordic tourism. One of the biggest problems is the fact that the Sámi are an indigenous population composed of different groups with different languages and cultural aspects. The Sámi have to balance their culture's connection to the past and the lively contemporary cultural manifestations in a way that is attractive to the tourists.
The conceptualisation of authenticity and the theoretical framework which is used to interpret the empirical data is critical realism, a postpositivist realist approach to philosophy of science. Considered the previous experiences of the Sámi working in tourism and the close cooperation of the author to the EU-funded project ARCTISEN, it is relevant to discuss the role of labels and certifications in Sámi tourism enterprises and the potential upsides and downsides of adopting labelling schemes to different aspects of Sámi cultural heritage.
Cecilia de Bernardi is currently a Doctoral Candidate at the Centre for Tourism and Leisure Research (CeTLeR) at Dalarna University in Sweden. She is also affiliated with the Multidimensional Tourism Institute at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland. Her publications concentrate mostly on the conceptualisation of authenticity in indigenous tourism, especially regarding marketing. She has also published on philosophical issues in academic work and on tourism policy related to winter tourism in the Nordic countries. Cecilia has several research interests, both closely related to her discipline, tourism, but also just pertaining to the philosophical approach critical realism. She is now in the final stages of her doctoral research process.