Food Tourism

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Food tourism means experiencing the food of the country, region or area, and is now considered a vital component of the tourism experience. Dining out is common among tourists and food is believed to rank alongside climate, accommodation, and scenery in importance to tourists. Hall and Mitchell (2001) define food tourism as ‘ visitation to primary and secondary food producers, food festivals, restaurants and specific locations for which food tasting and / or experiencing the attributes of specialist food production region are the motivating factor for travel ’.

Food tourism may be referred to as travel to specific regions to sample cuisine unique to the area. However, due to limited research available on this niche, for the purposes of this fact sheet, food tourism will be referred to as “travelers who visit a restaurant and/or dine out during their trip”.

Food is seldom the key reason for visiting a destination and most often is considered as part of the overall destination experience (Hjalager & Richards, 2002; Long, 2003; Selwood, 2003). However, food is becoming one of the most important attractions as tourists seek new and authentic experiences and alternative forms of tourism (Boyne et al., 2003; Crouch Ritchie, 1999; Hjalager&Richards, 2002; Selwood, 2003). As one of the major components in tourism, food always plays an important role. According to Bessiere (1998), a traditional food and cuisine can be exceptional tourist attractions in travel destinations because consumption of food takes a role as both an entertaining and a cultural activity. Eating local foods might not only be an isolated experience, but also an integral part of the travel experience which can educate tourists.

Mallon (1995) suggested that traveling to particular destinations solely for food cannot be overlooked, and the regional cuisine could be a critical factor when developing or promoting a tour destination. The desire to travel and taste...