Perceived and projected authenticity of visitor attractions as signs: A Peircean semiotic analysis

This study aims to examine the perceived authenticity of foreign tourists in comparison to the online projected authenticity of an iconic visitor attraction, by adopting a Peircean semiotic approach. Peircean types of signs namely iconic, indexical and symbolic are used to identify perceived and projected authenticity and related cultural meanings of the White Tower of Thessaloniki, Greece. A twofold qualitative research method was adopted by comparing content analysis of on-site interviews of 19 foreign tourists with semiotic analysis of three official websites promoting the attraction.