This research seeks to define the authenticity promoted within the cultural tourism industry and to explore the impacts of the industry on the indigenous people of Peru. Yang, Wall, and Smith describe ethnic tourism as tourism motivated by the pursuit of “exotic cultural experiences, including visiting ethnic villages, ethnic minority homes, and theme parks, participating in ethnic events and festivals, watching traditional dances or ceremonies, or simply going shopping for ethnic crafts and souvenirs. " (Yang et al, 2008 as cited in Yang, 2011, p. 562). Cultural tourism focuses on the needs of outsiders to explore and learn about an "authentic" culture. Outsiders usually have preconceived notions and needs about a premodern world when they travel to places like the Peruvian Andes. This leads to locals changing their behavior to satisfy the visitors (Canessa, 2012). The result is a commodification of cultures (Cohen, 1988). The process of commercialization of cultures raises questions about the authenticity and real costs behind ethnic tourism since cultural tourism further marginalizes indigenous people. In the process of commercializing an indigenous culture, the identity of indigenous people may be erased. This research will also look at the power relationships made within the cultural tourism industry. In the end, the researcher will provide recommendations for a more sustainable economy for the indigenous peoples of Peru.

Semester/Year of Award

Fall 11-30-2020


Dr. Abbey Poffenberger

Mentor Department Affiliation

Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Languages, Cultures, and Humanities