Tourism and the Authenticity of Intangible Cultural Heritage: Community Perspectives of Ceramic Craft in Margarites, Crete

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Crete is one of the most popular European tourism destinations, in part due to its rich culture. Growing numbers of tourists daytrip to Margarites village to experience its intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of ceramic craftsmanship, placing pressure on community members to meet demand for authentic cultural outputs. Significant research gaps exist for studies into community perceptions of the relationship between tourism and ICH authenticity. This study utilises a qualitative approach involving interviews and auto-photography to investigate the impacts of tourism on the perceptions and practices of Margarites community members regarding the authenticity of their ICH. This study adopts an interpretivist approach to authenticity that integrates constructionist and existentialist thinking. It concludes that Margarites community members acknowledge numerous, diverse, and simultaneously operating interpretations of authenticity in a mosaic of interlocking place- and people-related elements. Although intra-community tensions arise between practitioners with conflicting values and approaches to authenticity, tourism demand sustains local ceramic craftsmanship and stimulates cultural revival by making practicing ICH economically viable. Concerns arise regarding the long-term authenticity of ICH due to lack of collaboration and generational knowledge transfer among ceramicists. The study findings could inform local tourism management to preserve the authenticity of ICH through culturally sustainable tourism practices.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen