Document Type

Theses, Ph.D

Rights

This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Disciplines

Business and Management.

Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the Award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Dublin Institute of Technology, July, 2010.

Abstract

Within the area of cultural attractions new developments in modern technologies have brought changes as to how culture and heritage are presented and interpreted. This has evoked debates whether such sites can still be regarded as authentic. While researchers have investigated these issues on a theoretical basis, the perception and experience of authenticity as well as the use of modern interpretative tools have been treated separately and still lack empirical investigation. Therefore, this study explores the perceptions and experiences of authenticity at cultural attractions where modern technologies are applied. The central research questions are: (1) How can the key concepts of authenticity, multimedia and experience of cultural attractions be brought into an integrated measurable model? (2) What are the determinants of an authentic attraction and an authentic experience? (3) What is the role of multimedia in the visitor experience of a cultural attraction? In order to provide answers to these research questions a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was applied. In the first stage, focus-group discussions, expert interviews as well as a small scale quantitative study at “Ceol” – The Traditional Irish Music Centre were conducted. Based on these findings and a thorough literature review a Structural Equation Model was developed. This model incorporates visitor satisfaction, site specific attributes (including multimedia and perception of authenticity) and experiential aspects (i.e. experienced object-, personal-, and social authenticity). The model was tested using data from different sites in two different cities. These included The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, a modern-type attraction in which multimedia constitutes an integral element of the experience, and the Sisi Museum in Vienna, an old established museum where audio-guides are offered. II The findings revealed that object- and personal authenticity proved to be important concepts. However, the role of experienced social authenticity needs further investigation. The results also show that technology does not undermine the authenticity of a site - many visitors prefer to experience an attraction without such tools and in addition the use of an audio-guide did not lead to a higher satisfaction with the site. The suggested model can be regarded as a promising basis for further modelling the visitor experience at cultural attractions.