The dictionary definition of commodification is to make something into an object for commercial use. In terms of tourism, commodification refers to using a place's culture and the cultural artifacts to make a large enough profit to support part of the area's economy (Fiaux).
In today's tourism, commodification is prevalent everywhere one looks. Whether the tourist eats at McDonald's in China or buys souvenirs in India, they are participating in commodification. The problem with commodification is that it alters the tourists' abilities to have an authentic experience and introduces a false culture into the indigenous one. McDonald's is an American originated fast-food place and it has been globalized and introduced into the cultures of many countries. This does not allow travelers to experience the native foods because fast-food places like McDonald's are more common in tourist areas than the authentic food restaurants (Fainstein).
Another example of commodification in tourism is tourist attractions like Disney World and Disney Land. Disney parks are tourist attractions made to make money. There is minimal historical information exposed while visiting Disney parks. The history of some of the cartoon characters is shown along with the life of Walt Disney, but the basis of the park is entertainment and profit (Fainstein). Entertainment in tourism is fine, but Disney has threatened the habitats of many animals, created huge amounts of waste, and failed to incorporate an authentic historical aspect that is needed for true tourism. In terms of cultural tourism, Disney World and Disney Land do not meet the cultural requirements because of its lack of historical content (Ivanovic).
Commodification can be seen as a good thing, but in tourism the more authentic the experience the better it is not only for the tourist, but also for the indigenous culture. The more accurate the learning that can come from tourism, the more accurate the reporting or the tourists' responses can be. Tourists' responses can promote a place, and help that place's economy especially in developing countries (Rothman).