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The Future Of Travels Is The Quest For Authenticity

By Trent Lott

In his novel "Timeline", Michael Crichton has one of his characters saying:

"Today, everybody expects to be entertained, and they expect to be entertained all the time. Business meetings must be snappy, with bullet lists and animated graphics, so executives aren't bored. Malls and stores must be engaging, so they amuse as well as sell us. Politicians must have pleasing video personalities and tell us only what we want to hear. Schools must be careful not to bore young minds that expect the speed and complexity of television.

Sooner or later, the artifice of entertainment - constant, ceaseless entertainment - will drive people to seek authenticity. Authenticity will be the buzzword of the twenty-first century. And what is authentic? Anything that is not controlled by corporations. Anything that is not devised and structured to make a profit. Anything that exists for its own sake, that assumes its own shape. And what is the most authentic of all? The past.

The past is a world that already existed before Disney and Murdoch and British Telecom and Nissan and Sony and IBM and all the other shapers of the present. The past was here before they were. The past rose and fell without their intrusion and molding. The past is real. It's authentic. And this will make the past unbelievably attractive. Because the past is the only alternative to the corporate present.

What will people do? They are already doing it. The fastest-growing segment of travel today is cultural tourism. People who want to visit not other places, but other times. People who want to immerse themselves in medieval walled cities, in vast Buddhist temples, Mayan pyramid cities, Egyptian necropolises. People who want to walk and be in the world of the past. The vanished world.

And they don't want it to be fake. They don't want it to be made pretty, or cleaned up. They want it to be authentic."


[Copyright 2005 -]

About The Author

Trent Lott is a travel editor at, part of the network. publishes travel stories, travel news and hosts a travel forum.


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