Journal of Social and Political


ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

Published: 29 July 2019

Ethnic Tourism in Northern Thailand: The Paradox of Authentic Tourism Experience

Yuthasak Chatkaewnapanon

Chiang Mai University

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Pages: 536-541

Keywords: Ethnic Tourism, Authenticity, Tourism Experience, Long-Neck Karen


Ethnicity and the exotic are the two concepts Thailand has exploited in intimate details to create the cultural tourism experience. The Cultural tourists’ is in search of the authentic intact native. The uniqueness of the physical features of the local inhabitants, cultural dress and performances are capitalized upon. An ethnic community fits into the two concepts containing the objects of touristic desire. Despite the fact that authenticity is of great importance for cultural tourists, the very presence of the tourists is the construction of manifestations of tourism. Cultural tourism is then the reification process of the remote village life into the touristic attraction. The process illustrates the encounters of tourism hospitality practices. The social negotiation between tourists and hosts results in the transformation of self-less exotic of ethnic groups. An experience of ethnic tourism is akin to a fabricated heritage. When ethnicity and tourism are the core of economic development, the question of cultural change within the community also alters the attractiveness of the tourism location. This paper advances our understanding of the connection between ethnicity and tourism as a space of local hospitality performance and fabricated heritage creation. By discussing the author’s ethno-touristic experience in a Northern Thailand village, the analysis creates meaningful understandings of the complexity surrounding the hospitality phenomenon and the experience of ethnic culture.


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