Gastronomy in Cultural Tourism: Use of Mobile Instant Messaging to Look for Gastronomic Recommendations

Gastronomy in Cultural Tourism: Use of Mobile Instant Messaging to Look for Gastronomic Recommendations

Maria Romero-Charneco, Ana-María Casado-Molina, Pilar Alarcón-Urbistondo
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2927-9.ch015
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Cultural tourism consumers seek advice and recommendations from others before making buying decisions. The mobile instant messaging (MIM) boom could create a channel not only for social communication but also for information about cultural tourism and specifically the choice of restaurant. In this research we study which channels are most used by consumers when asking for gastronomic recommendations and, in particular, the factors behind the use of MIM as the preferred channels when obtaining tourist information. For this, an online survey was carried out with a sample of 393 individuals in Spain and descriptive statistical techniques were applied to the processing and analysis of the data. The results obtained show that: (1) its use is determined by its instantaneousness and permanent availability; and (2) people use it due to a lack of knowledge about the area.
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Tourism is undergoing major changes. One of these changes is that tourists are seeking destinations that allow them to enjoy different experiences (De la Rosa, 2003; Cracolici & Nijkamp, 2008). At the same time, cultural tourism has been transformed, adapting to the new demands of travellers (Guzmán-López & Jesús, 2011). This has resulted in it undergoing an evolution influenced by the conceptual changes that have taken place in the area of cultural heritage, social changes and consequently by changes in demand, looking for new forms of cultural consumption (Ibarra, 2001).

Cultural tourism can still be defined as that which includes all aspects of the trip, allowing the tourist to learn about the history, heritage or current ways of living and thinking (Richards, 2001). However, the way this is experienced has changed. Cultural tourism had always prioritised the visual sense over the rest of the senses, turning the tourist into a mere observer of reality, a passive tourist. However, tourists have evolved, changing from a mere collector of photos to wanting to seek out experiences. This search by the tourist for trips offering new experiences entails the greater involvement of the other senses in order to understand the customs of the place (McCabe, 2014; Ricky & Scott, 2017).

Thus, today’s traveller wants to have a full sensory experience and this includes taste. Through food, the cultural tourist obtains a greater understanding of the place they are visiting, beyond the simple observation mentioned previously (Cohen & Avieli 2004; Kivela & Crotts, 2006; Molz, 2007; Mak et al., 2012; Oliveira, 2007). In addition, it should be noted that gastronomy forms part of the cultural, social, environmental and economic history of places and their inhabitants, reflecting a particular lifestyle and being deeply rooted in the culture and tradition (Mitchell & Hall, 2006). In fact, one of the elements of cultural tourism is gastronomy, with strong cultural links between gastronomy and tourism (Ritzer, 1995; Richards, 2002; Roden, 2003; Dos Santos & Antonini, 2004; López-Guzmán & Sánchez-Cañizares, 2008; Sánchez-Cañizares & López-Guzmán, 2011). In addition, it is a factor that has traditionally been used by destinations to improve their image and create a differentiated positioning (Hjalager, 2010).

It is in this context that wine tourism, culinary tourism and olive oil tourism are becoming more important, with the gastronomic factor being either the main motivation or a key part of the cultural trip, rather than simply a necessary activity at the destination (Flavián & Fandos, 2011).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Web 2.0 (Web Social): Set of online channels (social networks, websites, blogs, wikis, etc.) that facilitate the sharing of information within a community where the user has control of publishing content and sharing it with the rest.

Wine Tourism: A type of tourism focused on wine production areas. It has a close relationship with gastronomic tourism and can also have a relationship with cultural tourism depending on the historical or artistic nature of the wine industry in the area, taken as industrial heritage.

Ask Vicente: Chatbot of gastronomic recommendations through mobile instant messaging.

UGC - User Generated Content: This is information created by the users in the Web 2.0 channels.

Chatbots: Software based on artificial intelligence that allows communication with humans in text conversations through interfaces. Provides automated responses to user requests.

Peer to Peer (MIM): Person to person communication and is the way of communicating without automated processes to respond to the needs of the user through mobile instant messaging channels.

Foodie: In this context this refers to a tourist consumer whose main motivation for travelling is the gastronomy at the destination. These are “food lovers” who enjoy going out to eat and trying new dishes rather than just satisfying their need for food.

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