TOU3023 Tourism In Cities, Dubai Assignment Sample

Exploring Strategies for Balancing Tradition and Innovation in Dubai's Tourism Sector

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Introduction Of TOU3023 Tourism In Cities, Dubai Assignment

Tourism is a rapidly growing industry and becoming increasingly important in many countries worldwide. However, one of the critical challenges in tourism development is the preservation and promotion of authenticity, particularly in urban destinations. This issue is especially relevant in cities like Dubai, such as cities that have undergone significant development and transformation. This study aims to explore authenticity in urban tourism, with a particular emphasis on the case study of Dubai. The study look at various approaches to authenticity in urban tourism and the problems and potential for promoting authenticity in a quickly rising and modernising metropolis like Dubai (Zaidan, 2016). The research will start with a review of essential sources on authenticity in urban tourism. Then, examining the literature will provide a general overview of the many approaches to authenticity in urban tourism and emphasis the problems and potential for promoting culture and heritage in urban locations.

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Literature Review:

Authenticity in Urban Tourism

Tourism is an important industry in many metropolitan areas, and it has the ability to help cities' economic and cultural development. But, as urban tourism grows, questions about the influence on destination authenticity have arisen. Scholars from numerous fields have defined and disputed the concept of authenticity. This will look at contemporary scholarship on authenticity in urban tourism, covering various techniques and theoretical perspectives on the topic.

  • Theoretical Framework: It is possible to approach authenticity in urban tourism from various theoretical perspectives. Scholars have proposed different models and frameworks to understand and analyse authenticity in urban tourism. According to Gursoy and Chi (2015), authenticity can be defined as "the extent to which the visitor's experience reflects the intrinsic characteristics of the destination, including its natural, cultural and social attributes". Other scholars, such as Wang, Li, and Buhalis (2015), have argued that authenticity is a constructed concept that is influenced by the expectations and perceptions of tourists and locals."
  • Approaches to Authenticity in Urban Tourism: Several approaches have been proposed to address the challenge of preserving authenticity in urban tourism.Approaches to preserving authenticity in urban tourism include promoting cultural heritage and local traditions, community-based tourism, and regulating tourism development. These approaches aim to balance the economic benefits of tourism with the need to maintain a destination's unique character and cultural identity. One approach is to promote cultural heritage and local traditions as a way to distinguish urban destinations from other places. For example, Brouder and Teixeira (2019) argue that community-based tourism, which emphasises local participation and cultural immersion, can help promote authenticity in urban tourism.
  • Challenges to Authenticity in Urban Tourism: Despite efforts to preserve authenticity in urban tourism, several challenges exist that threaten the authenticity of urban destinations. One of these challenges is the commodification of culture, which refers to the commercialisation of cultural products and experiences. This can lead to the homogenisation of destinations and the loss of cultural heritage. Commoditisation can be a positive force for promoting local economies and preserving cultural heritage, but it needs to be guided by principles of (sustainability and) responsible tourism (as cited by Zhang and Wu 2018).Commodification has the potential to lead to a desire for cultural goods and experiences that are not authentic but rather catered to the needs of tourists. This could result in the "Disneyfication" of certain locations, when traditional ways of life and cultural heritage are reduced to inauthentic, commercialised experiences. (Bianchi and Pike, 2015). When theme parks and replica attractions are built, for instance, they may lure tourists, but they may also be viewed as homogenising the local culture and being unauthentic (López-Guzmán and Sánchez-Caizares, 2015).

Additionally, the commodity of cultural practises that are intended to be sacred or private might result in their commercialization. For the benefit of tourism, cultural practises may occasionally be modified or made simpler, resulting in the loss of cultural identity and history. This is demonstrated through the sale of mass-produced trinkets or the recreation of cultural practises. (Gursoy et al., 2016).

Some contend, however, that commercialization can also benefit both economic growth and cultural preservation. For instance, the selling of handicrafts and regional goods can support local economies while also supporting cultural heritage. (Richards, 2015). The promotion and preservation of cultural practises that could otherwise be lost can also be supported by tourism.(Wang, Li, and Buhalis, 2015).

As a result, in order to maintain urban tourism's authenticity, commercialization must be governed by sustainable travel and tourism practises. This entails making certain that local communities participate in the creation of tourism-related goods and experiences, encouraging responsible consumption and production, and honouring the destination's cultural heritage and customs. (Zhang and Wu, 2020).

Another challenge is the impact of technology on authenticity in urban tourism. Immersive and interactive experiences that reflect local culture and history can enhance the authenticity of the tourist experience through technology. However, technology can also contribute to homogenising tourist experiences, leading to the loss of authenticity (Neuhofer et al. 2015).

An over reliance on technology can prevent us from having genuine experiences and human engagement. Tourists can become less interested in interacting with the local culture and society and more concerned with taking the ideal shot or posting their experiences on social media. (Chen and Xie, 2020).

Technology use has the potential to reduce the authenticity of travel experiences by standardising them. For instance, virtual reality (VR) views of historical locations might offer a homogenous experience that misses the site's own nuances and qualities. (Mak and Wu, 2018).

New prospects for the monetization of culture may arise as a result of technology. The usage of online marketplaces, for instance, might result in the standardisation and commercialization of regional handicrafts and souvenirs, potentially undermining their authenticity and cultural relevance. (Gretzel et al., 2015).

On the other side, technology may also be applied to promote ethical and environmentally friendly tourism strategies, preserving the originality of urban tourism. For instance, using a smartphone app to learn about the culture and traditions of a place can improve the visitor experience and encourage responsible travel. (Li et al., 2016).

Actual evidence with Logical connection of authenticity in urban tourism

There is ample evidence to suggest that preserving authenticity in urban tourism is vital to sustainable tourism development. Scholars have proposed several approaches to address this challenge, such as promoting cultural heritage and local traditions to differentiate urban destinations from other places. Initiatives to preserve authenticity and promote sustainable tourism practices have been successful in several destinations worldwide. For instance, in Barcelona, community-based tourism has been implemented to encourage cultural immersion and local participation, which has helped preserve the city's authentic character. Furthermore, responsible technology use has also been employed in cities such as Amsterdam, where digital tools have been developed to manage tourism flows and protect the city's cultural heritage. Therefore, initiatives to promote authenticity in urban tourism, such as community-based tourism, sustainable tourism practices, and responsible technology use, can help preserve authenticity and encourage the long-term development of urban tourism (Wang, Li andBuhalis, 2015). Urban tourism is an essential industry that can contribute to the economic and cultural development of cities, but it should not come at the expense of the authenticity of urban destinations. It is crucial to balance the needs of tourists with the preservation of cultural heritage and the well-being of local communities. While the challenges to preserving authenticity in urban tourism are many, it is encouraging to see initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable tourism practices and responsible technology use to ensure that urban destinations remain authentic and attractive to visitors.

The research on authenticity in urban tourism is ongoing, and there is much to be learned about the dynamics of this concept in different urban settings. Research should examine how stakeholders, such as tourists, local communities, and industry practitioners, can work together to preserve and promote authenticity in urban settings. Furthermore, the research could investigate the impact of cultural commoditization and the use of technology on the authenticity of urban tourism. Authenticity is a fundamental concept that underpins the development of urban tourism. Preserving and promoting authenticity is vital for urban tourism's long-term sustainability and local communities’ well-being. While there are many challenges to preserving authenticity in urban tourism, some initiatives can be taken to ensure that urban destinations remain authentic and attractive to visitors. Tourism practitioners and policymakers should work together to strike a balance between tourism needs and the preservation of cultural heritage and local well-being.

One of the fundamental debates in authenticity literature is the distinction between "real" and "staged" authenticity. Genuine authenticity is defined as an experience that reflects the essential characteristics of a place, while staged authenticity involves the creation of an experience that looks authentic but is inauthentic at its core. Many scholars argue that genuine authenticity is rare and difficult to achieve, as urban destinations must balance economic development with cultural preservation (Wang et al., 2018). Another approach to authenticity is the emphasis on cultural heritage preservation. As urban tourism expands, the loss of cultural heritage and local identity becomes an increasing concern. Scholars argue that promoting cultural heritage preservation through tourism activities can provide economic benefits while also helping to preserve local culture.


There are many luxury shopping malls, hotels, and extravagant entertainment venues in Dubai, making the city a worldwide tourist destination. However, the rapid development of Dubai's tourism industry has led to concerns about commodifying the city's culture and heritage. As a result, the traditional aspects of Dubai's culture are overshadowed by the glitz and glamour of the city's modern amenities, and many fear that the city's id

Several objections and examples of the commercialisation of Dubai culture are as follows:

  • There are worries that Dubai's culture and tradition are being commodified and made into a tourist commodity as a result of the city's rapid growth of upscale retail malls, hotels, and entertainment centres.
  • Traditional facets of Dubai's culture, such as its cuisine, music, and art, are frequently overshadowed by the city's glamour and glamour, which predominantly serve the wealthy.
  • Many people worry that the uniformity of Dubai's cultural offerings and loss of the city's identity and legacy would result from the marketing of its culture.
  • As traditional local businesses struggle to compete with the foreign names, the development of international brands and chains in Dubai's retail malls and hotels has contributed to a feeling of cultural uniformity.
  • Some contend that the focus on luxury and excess in Dubai's tourism sector has caused a gulf between the wealthy tourists who frequent the city and its working-class citizens, who frequently reside in less affluent areas and have limited access to the city's tourist attractions.
  • Concerns have also been raised regarding how Dubai's rapid development would affect the environment, particularly with regard to the city's desert environment and maritime ecosystem.
  • Last but not least, some detractors contend that the monetization of Dubai's culture is a component of a larger trend of globalisation and neoliberalism, which places a higher priority on economic growth and profit than on cultural preservation and communal well-being.

One of the most visible signs of commodification in Dubai is the construction of theme parks and entertainment complexes that cater primarily to tourists. However, these developments often need authentic cultural or historical significance and offer a commercialised version of Dubai's past. Traditions like the Gold Souk and Spice Souk have been transformed into tourist attractions focusing on souvenir shopping rather than local trade. Dubai's commodification is also evident in the city's architecture, which often prioritises grandeur and spectacle over functionality and sustainability. The construction of tall skyscrapers and grand buildings has transformed the city's skyline but has also been criticised for its lack of concern for the local environment and cultural heritage.

Application of the issues

Application of Authenticity in Urban Tourism to Dubai

Authenticity is a crucial factor in urban tourism as it refers to the uniqueness, originality, and genuineness of a destination, its culture, and its people. While Dubai has successfully attracted tourists worldwide, it has been criticized for needing more authenticity in its urban tourism offerings (Al-Ansari, 2013).

One negative aspect of the lack of authenticity in Dubai's urban tourism is that it can lead to cultural homogenization, where different destinations worldwide start to look and feel the same. As a result, individuals may become less interested in travel and tourism as they look for more unusual and genuine experiences.

Moreover, technology and innovation, often emphasized in Dubai's tourism marketing, can also contribute to the perception of a need for more authenticity. While technological advancements can enhance the tourism experience, they can also lead to a standardized and impersonal experience for visitors, which may not accurately represent the local culture and way of life.

For example, Dubai's use of advanced technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality to showcase its attractions may offer an impressive experience for tourists, but it may need to represent the local culture and way of life accurately. As a result, tourists may feel cut off from the location, resulting in a lack of knowledge and respect for the local way of life (Morrison, 2022).

To address these issues, Dubai could focus on promoting and preserving its authentic cultural heritage, traditions, and practices through sustainable tourism practices. It can include showcasing local art, cuisine, and music and offering opportunities for tourists to engage with the local community. Dubai is known for being a city that embraces technology and innovation in all aspects of life, and tourism is no exception. The city has made significant investments in technology and innovation to enhance the tourism experience for visitors, providing them with an unparalleled experience that combines luxury, comfort, and technology.

One of the significant technological innovations in tourism in Dubai is the implementation of the "Dubai Tourism Strategy 2020." This strategy uses technology to create a seamless and personalized experience for visitors right from the moment they arrive in the city. The strategy includes the implementation of several technological initiatives, such as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide personalized recommendations to visitors and the introduction of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to showcase the city's attractions.

Preserving Tradition and Embracing Innovation: The Dynamic Tourism Industry of Dubai:

In addition to the technological innovations, Dubai's rich cultural traditions also play a significant role in the city's tourism industry. Despite its modernity and rapid development, Dubai has managed to preserve its traditional values and heritage. As a result, visitors to the city can experience authentic Emirati hospitality, enjoy traditional Emirati cuisine, and witness traditional Emirati cultural events and festivals throughout the year. The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority plays a crucial role in promoting and preserving the city's cultural heritage and traditions, showcasing them to visitors from all over the world (Zaidan, 2016).

Dubai has also embraced the use of drones for tourism purposes. The BurjKhalifa and the Palm Jumeirah, two of the city's most recognizable structures, can now be seen from the air in breathtaking drone tours of the area. Using drones has allowed tourists to experience the city from a different perspective, providing a unique and unforgettable experience.

Another significant innovation in tourism in Dubai is the implementation of intelligent tourism solutions. These solutions use advanced technologies such as IoT, big data, and AI to provide tourists with a personalized experience. For instance, the city has introduced the "Visit Dubai" app, which provides tourists with information on the city's attractions, events, and activities. The app also uses AI to provide personalized recommendations based on the tourist's preferences.


The research has provided an overview of authenticity in urban tourism, focusing on the case study of Dubai. The literature review highlighted the different approaches to providing authenticity in urban tourism and the challenges and opportunities for promoting authenticity in rapidly developing urban destinations. The analysis of Dubai's tourism development and initiatives provides insights into the strategies employed by the city to promote authenticity and preserve cultural heritage.Nonetheless, much more research is needed in this area. One path for future research would be to investigate tourists' and residents' perceptions of authenticity in urban tourism, particularly in cities such as Dubai. It would inform future tourism policies and activities and provide important information regarding the effectiveness of current initiatives and strategies. Another significant issue is the conflict between economic development and cultural preservation in urban tourism. As towns modernise and expand, the authenticity that draws tourists first risks being lost. It is crucial to strike a balance between economic growth and cultural preservation to achieve long-term viability and achievement. In addition to the research avenues mentioned above, another area for future investigation is the role of technology in promoting authenticity in urban tourism. Technology advances in virtual reality, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence have made it possible to develop immersive and interactive experiences that highlight a destination's culture and legacy. However, technology may further homogenise travel experiences, which might result in a loss of authenticity .while technology might improve the traveller's experience and open up new possibilities for urban tourism growth, there is a chance that it could also lead to the homogenization of travel experiences and the loss of authenticity. It is critical to understand that technology cannot solve every problem facing urban tourism. Future study must therefore focus on how technology can be used to improve authenticity in urban tourism while still being responsible and sustainable. To prevent the distinctive character and personality of metropolitan destinations like Dubai from being lost in the quest of innovation and development, it is necessary to weigh the advantages of technology against a careful assessment of its possible downsides. Thus, future research could explore how technology can be leveraged to enhance realism in urban tourism while addressing potential drawbacks. Overall, a continued focus on authenticity in urban tourism is crucial for destinations' long-term sustainability and success, and further research in this area is warranted.Even while Dubai has worked to protect its traditions and cultural history, there is still space for growth when it comes to promoting authenticity in the travel and tourist sector. Promoting more community-based tourism projects that involve local engagement and provide guests a more immersive and genuine experience could be one area of focus. In order to provide tours and experiences that highlight the city's traditional culture and legacy, this could entail forming relationships with local companies and institutions.

Promoting sustainable tourism practises that lessen the impact of tourism on the environment and local people could be another area of concentration. This can entail taking steps to lessen waste and carbon emissions, encourage travellers to behave responsibly while traveling, and support regional economies and communities through tourism.

Last but not least, Dubai might look into methods to use technology to improve authenticity in its tourism sector. This can entail utilising ground-breaking technology like augmented reality and virtual reality to give guests rich, authentic experiences while also addressing worries about homogenization and authenticity loss.


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The Real Impact of Technology on Our Lives: Connection, Health, and ....

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what are they? try to explain at least a couple of them [HP1]

There is a range of literature on commodification- expand this section and strengthen the arguments! [HP2]

Again you need to expand this- so many critical points can be developed [HP3]

??? [HP4]

Very good- you need to aim to write like this more but do not forget to specify some references. [HP5]

There are different types of authenticity- Read the chapter in my book! [HP6]

All descriptive- start with some critical points/evidences about commodification in Dubai [HP7]

This section reads like you have copied some information from the websites. You put yourself in a risk of plagiarism. References needed and better organisation necessary! [HP8]

This is a good point - you need to be critical of technology led development given this worry over authenitcity. But you developed a previous section that contradicts this point. [HP9]

what can Dubai focus more? your suggestions need to be enhanced. [HP10]

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