Services reliant on revenue generated from tourism are often beholden to how authentic visitors perceive their offering to be. From a managerial perspective, this is exacerbated when they serve a dual-purpose, as both actively ingrained in local culture and showcased international tourist attractions. As such, this study contributes to Kolar and Žabkar’s (2010) consumer-based model of authenticity by assessing the relationships between serious leisure, object-based and existential authenticity, and visitor word-of-mouth (WOM) recommendations in Iranian cultural tourism. Utilising partial least-squares structural equation modelling, and drawing upon responses from 615 visitors to the Tabriz Grand Bazaar, it thus extends the model’s applicability to the developing Middle Eastern context. The results extend extant research by emphasising the importance of object-based authenticity, as opposed to existential authenticity, in stimulating positive visitor WOM recommendations. Consequently, this study advances the prevailing understanding of the role of authenticity in stimulating positive behavioural intentions by highlighting how destinations can stimulate visitor recommendations.
- serious leisure