Ethno-tourism is travel focusing on exploration of indigenous populations and their respective culture and traditions. Ethno-tourists usually seek to learn more about native peoples and their livelihoods.
Though authenticity is key, the more ethno-tourists that come to look for these things invariably and slowly factor out the authenticity. Tourism is already very exploitive, and travelers searching out genuine ethnic experiences often inadvertently cause the location to be less genuine, in fact.
As indigenous peoples realize the financial opportunities to be gained from tourists, events and traditions become more choreographed, and foods become “watered down,” all in an attempt to satisfy wealthy visitors.
The International Labour Office of Geneva defines it as such: “Ethno-tourism is a specialized type of cultural tourism […] defined as any excursion which focuses on the works of humans rather than nature, and attempts to give the tourist an understanding of the lifestyles of local people.”