Local Food as a Tool of Tourism Development in Regions

Local Food as a Tool of Tourism Development in Regions

Alžbeta Kiráľová, Lukáš Malec
DOI: 10.4018/IJTHMDA.20210101.oa1
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This study aims to identify the importance of local food for both the demand and supply sides and to show how local food can be bounded with tourism development in the region. The data presented are based on secondary and primary research. Secondary research includes the literature review and content analysis of documents. The qualitative research included a questionnaire survey among guests of the gastronomic establishments and entrepreneurs. Partial least squares variant of linear discriminant analysis (PLS-LDA) and partial least squares (PLS) as an alternative to standard multivariate methods were used to show the gastronomic establishments guests' and entrepreneurs' opinions on local seasonal food and beverages. The opinions are moreover related to the economically driven interest of guests and entrepreneurs. Based on the typical random variable source, data were gathered from three Czech regions covering the scope of this study. The significant disputes between opinions on local food and beverages are directly applicable in practice, including individual items.
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Food tourism is a fundamental element of regional culture, and, as an essential part of visitors’ experiences, it is a vital factor in regional development. Tourism can create jobs, attract foreign direct investment, earn foreign currency, and stimulate national, regional, and local economic growth when it is adequately supported by the state and is regulated as required.

In Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries, food and beverage services account for up to 30% of total internal tourism consumption (DuPeyras, 2016).

The World Food Travel Association (WFTA, 2020) estimates that 7.2 out of ten travelers choose their destination based on local food and beverage offer. Destination´s visitors spend about 25% of their budget on food and beverages. Food travelers spend daily on average by 24% more than other travelers. Eighty percent of all travelers research food and beverages while they are visiting the destination. Based on the above, it can be stated that local food and beverages play an important role in destination selection and destination marketing (Seo, Yun & Kim, 2017).

The relationship between food and tourism promotes policies that improve economic and social well-being. Food is a vital part of human culture and creativity, a significant element of intangible heritage, and an increasingly important attraction for tourists (Dupeyras, 2016). Gastronomy is one of the most important cultural expressions of human beings. The term concerns all culinary forms, including those deriving from the traditional local cuisine. Food and beverage, together with food culture practices and food heritage, are an integral component of a tourist’s experience in the destination.

Gastronomy and food tourism is a factor of the regional agricultural and economic growth through the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and contributes to the development of the region (Kiráľová & Hamarneh, 2016; Mak, Lumbers, Eves, & Chang, 2012). It is a scalable and cost-effective tool for local development that has the potential to strengthen identity, increase appreciation of the environment, and promote the regeneration of the local heritage and local economies. Tourism-related food production is, therefore, an essential mechanism for the economic development of rural areas of the regions.

Various destination management organizations consider local food as a vital tourism resource (Özdemir & Seyitoglu, 2017) and an essential part of the destination brand (Okumus, Kock, Scantlebury & Okumus, 2013). Food is an essential factor in promoting local products (Okumus & Cetin, 2018; Sidali & Hemmerling, 2014), it is one of the most shared attributes in social media (Law, Buhalis & Cobanoglu, 2014), and if marketed on the right social media platforms (Viljoen, Kruger, & Saayman, 2017), it can attract visitors to the destination.

In certain types of special interest tourism, food becomes a central motivation for travel (Hall & Mitchell, 2001). Indeed, Hashimoto and Telfer (2003) note how food in tourism has developed from being a necessity to become an additional “tourist experience” that may enhance the overall evaluation of the travel experience. The maximization of economic linkages between local products and visitors is, therefore, of great importance in maximizing the contribution of tourism to the development of the regions (Hall, 2004). Food tourism can also be a tool for the economic development of those rural areas with high unemployment and low socioeconomic status in the regions.

Almeida and Garrod (2017) highlight in this context the need for destination management organizations to focus on the link between destination image and local food as marketing activities can turn experience with local food from regular consumption into a higher level of personal experiences.

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