AUTHENTICITY OF TOURISM PRODUCTS
Tourism products is an application of ideas and terminologies drawn from marketing science has been particularly apparent in that sector of tourism which makes use of the past as a tourist attraction. Tourism products can be programmed to be more efficient and profitable in term of economics. Today, there are many types of tourism products can be found. Therefore the tourism products can be classified from the type of activities and the tourist needs. Other than that natural element, facilities including infrastructure and superstructure; along with accessibility will considered as main factors to design a tourism products. Nowadays, tourists are more concern towards education and heritage tourism. They love to get information, interesting facts and natural elements. The tourism product’s basic raw materials would be the country’s natural beauty, climate, history, culture and the people. The authenticity of tourism products is very important to attract tourist towards the heritage places. The attractions could be cultural like sites and areas of archaeological interest, historical buildings and monuments or scenic like flora and fauna, beaches, mountains and national parks. The culture and heritage value are related and can attract tourist with their authenticity, genuinely and originality. Heritage resource should be planned by great stories that reflect to the original heritage and culture. In other hand, a great stories and exact information can support the heritage tourism by doing conservation and preservation programme. By enhancing the promotion and marketing, it can help the tourists to feel and experience more of the tourism products in each place. ‘Marketing’ by definition is the development of a product to meet the needs of the consumer and then employing the techniques of direct sales, publicity and advertising to bring this product to the consumer.
Authenticity could be defined as a product or representation of the particular culture or heritage which produced it. When trying to declare something as authentic, it is important to know “based on what?”, who makes the call?, why and for what purpose?, how is the story being told? This brings us to needing to understand such constructs as “historical fact”, “folklore”, and even “fakelore”. Folklore: is made up of the traditional things we say (including local histories and folk stories), things we make and things we do. Fakelore: to describe that which is connected, falsified, fabricated or refined from the raw data of the anonymous tradition of folklore by particular individuals usually for profit.
Authenticity can be achieved in terms of experiencing the physical environment, or through a social interaction or people-based experience.
1) Authentic people in authentic environment
2) Authentic people in inauthentic environment
3) Inauthentic people in inauthentic environment
4) Inauthentic people in authentic environment
1) The social interaction (with local people)
2) The physical environment (the site)
(Source: J.J. Zorilla (2000), Authenticity in the Context of Ethnic Tourism: The Local Perspective, University of Calgary, Canada)
1.1 My Understanding to Authentic Means
The authenticity of certain product can be showed by culture and heritage of each ethnic or race in the country. By doing the preservation and conservation programme, all artefacts, archaeological things and monuments can be enjoyed by us today. In this case, the authentic tourism products can be referred to certain things which have a historical value and great interesting stories. To give clear and exact information to the tourist, we should plan a certain trails which can give continuity of the historical and heritage places. There are two types of historical facts to be considered in each story line. First is folklore, that means a way of life and traditional things including local histories and folk stories. Second is fakelore, that mean the way how to give distinct information which is refined from the raw data of the anonymous tradition of folklore by particular individuals usually for profit. Everything that is authentic does not have to be old or historic, but the basis for the claim needs to be established and shared with the person hearing the story in other words, put in perspective by setting the stage or context in which the authenticity is derived.
1.2 Example of the authenticity products
Photo 1: Porto de Santiago gateway as today
Photo 2: The fortress was buried under the ground
This fort was built in 1540 during the reign of Sultan Alaudin Riayat Shah II, the prince of Sultan Mahmud Shah of Melaka, when it was invade by the Portuguese in 1511. The fort that is located in Tanjung Batu was part of the Johor Lama settlements with government and defence centre along the Johor River. Today, only a few graves, old wells and a few defence walls still remains preserved and conserved by government of Malaysia.
2.0 Tourism Products
A ‘product’ may be defined as the ‘Sum of the physical and psychological satisfactions it provides to buyer’. In the case of tourism product, the basic raw materials would be the country’s natural beauty, climate, history, culture and the people.
(Source: A.K. Bhatia (1991), Tourism Development – Principle and Practices, Sterling Publishers Private Ltd, New Delhi)
Types of Tourism Products:
Although the typical mainstream tour package might involve routine 7 – 14 day tours encompassing several cities in a region, increasingly special packages are being created for niche attractions. A useful definition or common thread for organizing special tourism programs would be that they appeal to a narrow, like-interested population base. The US Tour Operators Association Web site, for example, lists about 50 types of special tourism products including the following:
4) Barge/river cruises
6) Bird watching
7) Castle/chateau stays
17) Honeymoons/ weddings
19) Hot-air ballooning
20) Nature/wildlife/ safaris
27) Whale watching
( Source: B.S. Paul (2008), Travel and Tourism – An Industry Primer, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey )
2.1 My Understanding about Tourism Products
Tourism products in definition are the combination between tourism package and marketing. The package sold either to the individual tourist himself or by using travel agents. Tourist product also known as the attraction of each place and it provides tourist with facilities and accessibility for their convenience. The attractions offered to the tourist should be prominent and could represent that place itself. We must deeply introduce the tourist about the place they like to visit. The places that are potential to attract tourist should have the element such as archaeological sites, historical buildings and monuments; also natural elements (beaches, mountains / highlands and seas). The examples of attraction places in Malaysia are Langkawi Island, Mount Kinabalu and Cameron Highlands. The facilities offered to the tourist should be convenience and comfortable to use. Facilities can help to enhance and develop the attraction places by providing the accommodation, entertainment place, recreational area and camping site. Through providing accessibility, it can assist and ease the tourist to go to the attraction place. Accessibility design should connect all the attraction places. Nowadays, there are several types of tourist and it influenced the tourism products:
4) Exotic and unusual holiday – needs an extreme experience, such as camping in the jungle / up the mountain / national parks, fishing at deep seas or cruising along the river. Usually they just need a minimum facility.
3.0 HERITAGE RESOURCE
A heritage resource is an authentic resource that reflects or conveys tangibles or intangible elements of local heritage. Categories of heritage resources currently include sites, services, events, tours, routes, products and living treasures. Future categories will include communities and landscapes. In addition to authenticity, the programme emphasizes the importance of interpretation – the way that resources convey their importance to visitors, or how they “tell the story” of heritage they reflect. The authenticity criteria for each type of resource are slightly different, because each type raises different issues. For a building to be considered authentic, it must have an appearance that is consistent with its periods of significance – the era that is most important in the building’s history.
A heritage product is an endemic folk and decorative art, craft, or trade object that authentically reflects local heritage. As a physical expression of commonly held beliefs, customs, and traditions, each Heritage Product has a unique and well-defined cultural significance. Heritage products are made locally by skilled artisans, craftsmen and women, and trades people. A heritage product is generally made by hand using traditional materials and time – honoured methods of production. Creative contemporary interpretations of traditional designs, patterns, motifs, or styles must bear a reasonably apparent relationship to the recognized traditional form of the product to warrant its designation as a Heritage Product. Heritage products are not factory – made, manufactured, mass produced in an assembly line, or made from a kit.
3.1 My Understanding about Heritage Resource
Heritage resource is authentic things that convey the evident element of local heritage. Heritage resource can be categorised into several character such as sites, services, events, tours, routes, products and living treasures. Other categories are relationship between community and landscapes. In other hand, all interpretations about heritage are depending on who tell the stories. Interpretation is the art of explaining the natural, historic, or cultural significance of a resource to the public. It is not enough for a resource to be a significant part of the country’s natural, historic, or cultural heritage – it must convey that message to visitors through effective interpretation. Heritage products such as endemic folk, decorative art, craft, or trade object that authentically reflect to a local heritage. Heritage products are usually man made. It is made by locally skills artisan, craftsmen and trade people. Every motive or design for the heritage products showing the originality, the relationship between traditional form and heritage to be emphasized. Other than that, the heritage products are not manufactured and massly produced but they are only made by skills artisan and expertise.
Photo 3: Souvenir shop at Pantai Cenang, Langkawi
Floating market at Bangkok, Thailand is the most interesting place to buy a local heritage product. The uniqueness of this place is tourist must cruise along the river to buy a souvenir.
Tourism products such as accommodation, hospitality, attractions, events, and other tourist services should be considered in a site plan. These tourist facilities include hostels, restaurants, hospitals, and public restrooms. When developing a site plan the following factors should be considered:
(Source: Canadian Universities Consortium, A Manual for Sustainable Tourism Destination Management, Canada)
4.1 My Understanding about Designing Tourism Products
Tourism product such as accommodation, hospitality, attraction and other services should consider about site plan. The purpose of having site plan is to know the scale and types of development, to know what kind of activities that are suitable for the tourist, the attraction sites and amenities to propose in the site plan. The site plan also is used to set up approaches to minimize the negative impact by design, land-use planning and management. Most of the tourist love to visit the main attraction places. Therefore we should know the tourist volumes and flows towards the main attraction place. We also have to consider the facilities and amenities provide for their convenience and safety. Accessibility to the main attraction place also is a main issue to minimize the negative impacts. Main road to the attraction place should have continuity between other attraction places. It can give extra experience to tourist when they are going for a pleasure trip.
5.0 THE LOCAL PERSPECTIVE
The potentiality of having an authentic tourist experience in both spheres, the physical and the social, is there but in a way it is the individual tourist him / herself who will determine the authenticity of the experience especially in the social interaction aspect of the experience.
Element of the authenticity of the experience depends on the tourist: “Depends on who the person is and how they felt when they are through going through the sites”.
(Source: J.J. Zorilla (2000), Authenticity in the Context of Ethnic Tourism: The Local Perspective, University of Calgary, Canada)
5.1 My Understanding about the Local Perspective
When certain areas undergo a development, there will be some benefit to the local people. The area developed by the tourism industry will focus on attracting tourist to come to that place. The failure to control the volume of tourist can make congestion to that place, natural element also will be damaged by vandalism, spreading of yellow culture, changing jobs and disturbance of social system. From the economic aspects, local people will gain financial benefits, switch the service to tourist and offer vacancies to the local people.
· Diversifying the local economy
· Attracting visitors interested in history and preservation
· Increasing historic attraction revenues
· Preserving local traditions and culture
· Generating local investment in historic resources
· Building community pride in heritage
· Increasing awareness of the site or area's significance
1) B.S. Paul (2008), Travel and Tourism – An Industry Primer, Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
2) A. Gregory, G. Brian ( 1991), Marketing Tourism Places, Routlegde Chapman and Hall Inc, New York.
3) F. Douglas ( 1985), Travel and Tourism Management, The Macmillan Press Ltd, London.
4) A.K. Bhatia (1991), Tourism Development – Principle and Practices, Sterling Publishers Private Ltd, New Delhi.
5) Canadian Universities Consortium, A Manual for Sustainable Tourism Destination Management, Canada.
6) W. Bruce (2004), Direct Marketing of Crafts and Souvenirs to Vladimir Visitors, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
7) J.J. Zorilla (2000), Authenticity in the Context of Ethnic Tourism: The Local Perspective, University of Calgary, Canada.