The postcard is one of the most popular products in the tourism industry, as postcards have different purposes. Despite this, the postcard remains an under examined subject especially in relation to important concepts, such as authenticity and the representation of destinations. This thesis aims to examine the role authenticity plays in postcards of global and local destinations in the Netherlands. Quantitative content analysis and semiotic analysis have shown that there are multiple forms of authenticity used in postcards to represent the destinations. The difference for the local and global destinations lies in how the postcards represent the destinations. While for global destinations modernity and uniqueness is emphasized, in local destinations traditional culture is emphasized. Interviews conducted with foreign tourists furthermore indicate the use of constructive authenticity in postcards. This means that the imagery on postcards partially corresponds with expectations regarding the destinations and with preferences regarding the imagery on postcards. The interviews further reveal the diversity of interpretations on the use of authenticity in postcards. Therefore, authenticity is of importance for how the destinations are perceived through postcards.
Author: N. Stolk (2017)