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Protecting authentic storytelling in tourism
The recent debacle brought about by a soft drink commercial invoking a social justice theme for an advertisement has highlighted the dangers of creating marketing plans in the bubble of a boardroom. There's a hunger in the marketplace for real voices, authentic storytelling - look at the popularity of the Facebook page for Humans of New York, for example - and that's the kind of storytelling tourism must seek to employ, but always with due respect to the storyteller. Storytellers must not be exploited.
Invented or borrowed experiences are fiction that lacks the gut response from audiences, who sense, at a visceral level, that they’re being played. On the other hand, real experiences cannot be manufactured, and carry with them, at their heart, humanity that we can all relate to.
In tourism, storytelling has always been a powerful feature, great tour guides are raconteurs who can weave history and contemporary facts together in a way that brings places and experiences to life. This is central to any travel experience, be it a walking tour of the central city’s cultural and historical heritage to the inspiring stories of resilience in our townships.