Authenticity in indigenous tourism
the provider’s perspective
Although authenticity is frequently debated in the study of the tourism industry, the host’s perspective has rarely been discussed. This study of Smangus village, an indigenous tourism site in Taiwan, explores host authenticity, a view of community as distinct and true to a shared sense of self. An ethnographic approach was used for periodic data collection from 2006 to 2015, focusing on the village’s tourism initiation and communal tourism activities. The results show that Atayal Gaga, a traditional social norm that stresses communal action toward shared goals, underpins Smangus’ tourism industry. Host authenticity is shown in the decision to transform village industry from agriculture to tourism and in tourism programs that stress local people’s role as educators. The contribution of this research is to provide an additional perspective for the theoretical discourse of authenticity in tourism studies and to give an empirical example for indigenous communities in future tourism development and management.