Abstract: Three basic assumptions, common in the literature on tourism, regarding “commoditization”, “staged authenticity”, and the inability of tourists to have authentic experiences are re-examined. Authenticity is conceived as a negotiable rather than primitive concept, the rigor of its definition by subjects depending on the mode of their aspired touristic experience. New cultural developments may also acquire the patina of authenticity over time — a process designated at “emergent authenticity”. It is also argued that commoditization does not necessarily destroy the meaning of cultural products, although it may change it or add new meanings to old ones. Conclusions contrary to the deductions following from the above assumptions are spelled out, and a new approach to the study of authenticity and meaning in tourism, which could help the formulation of a more discerning tourism policy, is advocated.