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The Motivational Factors of the Role of Food in Tourism.

The Motivational Factors of the Role of Food in Tourism.
Author: Sharlene Maxwell
1 Commentries
Abstract

This paper will be investigating the motivational factors of the role that food plays in tourism and also to highlight the fact that food is one of the essential elements in motivating tourists to travel to various destinations across the world.

Key Words: Food, motivational factors, cultures, destination marketing


"Food is one of the essential elements of the tourist experience. Yet it is such an integral part of the experience that it is only in recent years that it has become a subject of study in its own right" (Hall and Sharples, 2003: 1). But with tourism as a positive force in the world, and the role that food plays in tourism, it is necessary to consider its motivational factor as a tourism resource. The resources a destination requires to meet the various needs of tourists, one could say that the role of food in tourism has shaped some traditional gastro destination such as France and Italy, whereas in emerging destination such as in Oman or Vietnam. Food plays an important role in the attraction of tourists and the overall experience they have whilst on holiday. However, if a destination wishes to build a strong identity in the mind of the tourists, it must market its differences along with its motivational attraction for example; in countries that have similar weather, and offers similar activities; food with a strong national or regional identity can become one of the vehicles for achieving this. Tourists have now become very cautious when spending their money on holidays, but most of all, they have become experimental and open to new ideas and destinations. The recent concept of food tourism has enhanced the industry and enabled regions known for exquisite cuisine to become popular tourist destinations.

For many tourists when booking a holiday, the destination image alone is no longer a key element, as food is also now a significant part in this decision making process when tourists are choosing a destination. Furthermore, there are tourists who travel to a destination purely because of the food, likewise there are other tourists who do not have food as their main reasons for travel but who are key foodies, and who will seek out authentic food and base on their judgement of the destination upon that food. Food is the essential components while on vacation. Sightseeing begins and ends with an indulgence in the local cuisine. In fact many popular tourist destinations remain popular only because of the food. The concept intends to allow the tourist to explore and connect across regions and cultures. In other words, it is noted that a great food experience not only boosts tourism, but also the destination. Europe, Asia and the Far East thrive on the significant role that food have on tourism. This concept has side line the importance of climate and the distance in the tourism industry. Roberts and Hall (2001) suggested that travelling to a particular destination solely for the food cannot be overlooked, and the regional cuisine could be a critical factor when developing or promoting tourism. As for many tourist, the desire to travel and taste unique and authentic food is becoming one of the biggest paradigms in the tourism industry, and its emergence in the tourism industry is getting more attention from researchers and the resort organisers.

In today's society, with so many more people having a lot more disposable income, tourists are better informed, well-travelled and more culturally aware. Food offers a gateway into many different cultures, through taste, food preparation and the whole overall eating environment. Cultural motivators are therefore strong push factors for the development of the food and tourism; when experiencing new local cuisines, we are also experiencing new culture, which leads the tourist to into learning about, and experiencing the culture of other destinations other than their own. What better way than through food? The search for authenticity has been identified as being central to tourism motivation, and food provides opportunity for many authentic encounters with different cultures. According to Kim et al, (2010) the role that food help to play in tourism is promoted to advertise the identity and culture of the destination and creates a great opportunity for local food producers to add value to their products by creating a special experience for tourists. As tourist may be motivated by physical experience, it is unlikely that modern, well fed tourists will be motivated by the opportunity for a surplus intake of calories rather the opposite

Food holds a favoured place within the tourist quest. An ingredient of the holiday, it provides part of the sense of place. And the meal and its element reinforce the process of identification during holiday. It can be that whereby, or wherefore, we favour or reject a particular place. Overall, with food consumption being one of the most important factors in destinations marketing, the role that food play in tourism is promoted to advertise the identity and culture of the destination which also creates a great opportunity for the destination by creating special experience for tourists. Even though destination image is a vital pull factors in attracting tourist to a particular location, however the image of many destination is still heavily dependent on food.

Reference List

Field, K. (2002) Demand for the Gastronomy Tourism Product: Motivational Factors in Hjalager, A-M. and Richards, G. (ed.) Tourism and Gastronomy. London: Routledge.

Power, J. (2010) The Importance of Food in Tourism. [Online] (accessed 29/04/12) http://www.tenerifenews.com/index.php/news-mainmenu-1/features-mainmenu-26/15271-the-importance-of-food-tourism-industry-comment-from-ittfa

Quan, S. and Wang, N. (2004) Towards a Structural Model of the Tourist Experience: An Illustration from Food Experiences in Tourism. Tourism Management. Vol.25 Issue 3 pp.297-305 [Online] (accessed 1/05/12) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261517703001304



Commentary by Anna Lezak for The Motivational Factors of the Role of Food in Tourism
Author: Anna M. Lezak
Commentary by Anna Lezak

The Motivational Factors of the Role of Food in Tourism

The author's introduction is straightforward and simple, she begins by briefly outlining the food tourism and its importance for tourism experience, and moves right into the motivation factors.

The paper gives strong argument to the need for food tourism, stating that "there are tourists who travel to a destination purely because of the food." When it comes to visitors, dining out can both be a necessity and a pleasure. While some tourists dine to satisfy their hunger, others dine at a particular restaurant to experience the local food and cuisine (Cohen & Avieli, 2004). This can be also agreed by Quan and Wang (2004) who noted that the food experience could become a major, or one of major motivations, for travel. As it can be seen, for some areas, food has become an important attraction and is influential to their development. Moreover, local cuisine has the potential to enhance the visitor experience by connecting consumers to the region and its perceived culture and heritage (Sims, 2009). Everett and Aitchison (2008) proposed its role of food tourism in sustaining regional identity. Thus, food tourism conveys the culture of destination to tourists, it is an essential element for experiencing local culture. Fields (2002) also suggested that experience of local food on holiday is a cultural experience, since food reflects human culture. He proposed that cultural motivators are tools for visitors to realize and experience the host culture because understanding the host culture can make them closer to their destinations. Therefore, traditional meals are powerful attractors and they can express local culture, regional identities and values.

The author suggested that travelling to a particular destination solely for the food cannot be overlooked, and the regional cuisine could be a critical factor when developing or promoting tourism. This can further be supported by Kivela and Crotts (2005), who stated that food tourism was a meaningful and possibly a highly loyal market segment, and could also be considered that food experiences were powerful tools for marketing the destination.

The author of conference paper, stated that for many tourists when booking a holiday, the food is now a significant part in this decision making process when tourists are choosing a destination. This too could be strengthened by Hall & Sharples ( 2003), where it was stated that while defining food tourism, one should take into account the difference between tourists who consume food only as part of their travel experience and those whose activities, behaviors and, even destination selection is oriented by an interest in food.

Overall the conference paper included an interesting argument into how the food sector plays in tourism and highlight the fact that food is one of the essential elements in motivating tourists to travel to various destinations across the world. It highlights key areas within the industry and enables for an understanding of why people would be concerned for the food tourism.
The author examined appropriate research and used relevant sources to build their argument. Although, the conference paper does not highlight current trends, therefore the paper may have benefited by taking into consideration current trends within the sector, by using suitable resources such as Mintel. Despite this, the paper engaged the reader and expanded an interesting topic.

References:

Cohen, E., & Avieli, N. (2004). Food in tourism: Attraction and impediment. Annals of Tourism Research, 31, 75-778.

Everett, S., & Aitchison, C. (2008). The role of food tourism in sustaining regional identity: A case study of Cornwall, South West England. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 16(2), 1-18.

Fields, K. (2002). Demand for the gastronomy tourism products: motivational
factors". In A.M. Hjalager and G. Richard (Ed), Tourism and Gastronomy (pp. 36-
50). London: Routledge.

Hall, C.M., & Sharples, L. (2003). The consumption of experiences or the
experiences of consumption? An introduction to the tourism of taste. In C.M.Hall, E.
Sharples, and R. Mitchell, N. Macionis, & B. Cambourne (Ed.). Food tourism around
the world: development, management and markets (pp. 1-24). London: Butterworth-
Heinemann.

Kivela, J., & Crotts, J. C. (2005). Gastronomy tourism: A meaningful travel market segment. Journal of Culinary Science & Technology, 4 (2/3), 39-55.

Quan, S., & Wang, N. (2004). Towards a structural model of the tourist experience: An illustration from food experiences in tourism. Tourism management, 25, 297-305

Sims, R. (2009). Food, place and authenticity: local food and the sustainable tourism
experience. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 17(3), 321-336.