Authentic, experiential, immersive, transformational. The rise of these marketing buzzwords in travel over the past 20 years would suggest Americans increasingly want to connect with host communities and cultures in a meaningful way and to make that leap from tourist to traveler.
But how far are they really willing to go? How authentic is too authentic?
The option to embed oneself in a destination has become the promise of players from Airbnb to legacy tour operators, cruise lines and resorts. In the first generation of experiential offerings, resorts would have guests accompany their chefs to markets to buy locally sourced ingredients. Today, among the options that get deeper into the local food chain, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan offers guests a chance to spend a morning working in a rice paddy.