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Importance of Gastronomic Tourism

The importance of gastronomic tourism can be summarized as follows (Quan and

Wang 2004: 303; Armesto Lopez and Gomez Martin 2006):

  • 1. In areas that are rich in various and vernacular foods and drinks, these can become the most important tourism attraction by themselves or could play an important role in tourists’ decision making and satisfaction (Henderson 2009). Consequently, gastronomy can be used to market a destination (Quan and Wang 2004; Frochot 2003, Du Rand et al. 2003), to add to a destination’s image (Henderson 2009; Okumus et al. 2007), and as a local developmental tool (Okumus et al. 2007). Local foods can be marketed to tourists through organized food events and festivals, and food routes. However, while a unique and memorable cuisine could be a great asset to any tourism destination, it may not be sufficient for the success of the destination (Fox 2007). It also requires the commodification and spectacularization “through the discursive practice of gastrospeak” (Fox 2007: 546). By “gastrospeak,” Fox (2007) understands the discourse surrounding the representation of all gastronomy-related topics and situations.
  • 2. Gastronomic tourism helps local food and drinks producers to promote and add value to their agricultural products. In the past, wine tourism was used mainly to market wineries; today, it rather provides direct-to-customer sales. This allows small wineries to survive in a very competitive environment (Hudelson 2014). In fact, most American wineries rely today on revenue generated by tourism to survive (Williams and Dossa 2003). Wine tourism can generate economic growth in rural areas (Clemente-Ricolfe et al. 2012; Telfer and Wall 1996; Carmichael 2005) “while maintaining the viability of rural life and agricultural landscapes” (Carmichael 2005: 189). Tourists interested in local cuisine and drinks are generally more educated (Stewart et al. 2008) and above-average- income professional couples in their 30s and 40s (Huang et al. 1996), as well as highly educated and affluent, mature senior couples and singles (Getz and Brown 2006; Clemente-Ricolfe et al. 2012). Also, many of those who have an interest in wine tourism are more likely to have an interest in outdoor activities and in cultural activities (Getz and Brown 2006). They are also more interested in luxury and tend to spend more money (Getz and Brown 2006).
  • 3. Food and wine could be (an important) part of other organized events.
  • 4. Food festivals and gastronomic tourism could also foment local community identity which could enhance community participation.
  • 5. Food and drinks are not only consumed at the destination, but can also be taken home as souvenirs and gifts (Richards 2002). Food products are important as souvenirs because they are relatively cheap, have a high use value, and are easy to carry (Richards 2002: 14).
 
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