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60(ish) Seconds: Hyper-real Tourism

Paolo Fresnoza discusses why some travellers prefer fake and inauthentic experiences.

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A prevailing motivator for travel is to visit authentic destinations and experiences. Whether it be the Eiffel Tower or Macchu Picchu or riding a tuk-tuk in Thailand, visitors love trying something that’s original and unique. 

But did you know, some travellers actually prefer travelling and experiencing what is otherwise absolutely fake and inauthentic? That is called hyper-real tourism. Some travellers are tired of the usual travel experiences and would rather and intentionally embrace what is inauthentic, what is mythologized, and simulated experiences in the tourism industry. 

Whether visiting the Shire in New Zealand, or the Death Star in Disney World, or joining a Cosplay in Tokyo, there is real demand by travellers to immerse and escape into these fantastic experiences. Hyper-real tourism tricks consciousness into detaching from any real emotional engagement, instead opting for artificial simulation, and endless reproductions of fundamentally empty appearances. 

That’s hyper-real tourism. It’s transcendent. It’s rebellious. And it’s fun. Especially since one’s absolute fake is someone else’s meaningful experience.