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The Relationship Between Gastronomy Tourism And How It Affects The Economic Environment Of Tourism Destinations

1063 words - 5 pages

In recent years, the rise in gastronomic tourism reflects major economic transformation in major tourism destinations. Gastronomy has become an important attribute to the development of niche travel and tourism destinations. Culinary or gastronomy tourism entails travel based in part or around culinary activities such as visiting the farmers markets, culinary festivals, eating tours, chef demonstrations, cooking classes, wine-country retreats and et cetera. The growing interest in this tourism has encouraged local communities and major destinations alike to support gastronomy tourism through their creativity and business practices. As a result, many tourist destinations have begun to focus ...view middle of the document...

The term ‘niche tourism’ bears a similar concept with ‘niche marketing’. Marina Novelli explained that niche refers to an optimum location, which an organism can exploit in terms of resources in the presence of its competitors. In marketing terms, niche refers to two inter-related ideas. First that there is a place in the market for a product (in this case, food), and second, there is an audience for this product, where both place and audience are seen to fuse into a single entity. There are a variety of niche tourism markets that may be developed by a destination depending on its existing infrastructure, tourism products and facilities.

The term ‘cultural tourism’, for instance, is frequently cited as a form of niche tourism with ‘cultural tourists’ forming the niche market. Smith (2003: 37) classifies cultural tourists by the ‘typical places’ tourists visit and ‘activities of interest’ that tourists engage in. Thus, the ‘arts tourist’ goes to the theatre, attends concerts and visits galleries, whilst the ‘popular cultural tourist’ may visit heritage sites, themed attractions and other events. Gastronomic tourism is a category that is further segmented from ‘cultural tourism’ as we are able to identify tourists’ travel preferences aligned to their motivations and desires to experience the particular cultural form and expression that is gastronomy related.

This can be extended further to refer to the gastronomic product tailored to meet the needs of a particular market segment. Following the current pop culture, this market segment is popularly termed as ‘foodies’. Foodies or a foodie (singular) is referred to as a person with a particular interest in food, especially in cooking and eating. Wikipedia explains that a foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than for being hungry. Foodies are also defined as a distinct group that develop a particular interest in food which gave rise to the Food Network and other specialized food programming, publications and specialized kitchenware shops. However, such definitions do not mean that any trip to a restaurant is food tourism rather the desire to experience a particular type of food or the produce of a specific region or even to taste the dishes of a particular chef must be the major...

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