In the recent past, Food Tourism (FT) has experienced considerable growth hence being considered to be among the leading tourism segments in terms of creativity and change. The subject has over the years gained increased attention whereby tourists are attracted to products made locally (Clark 89). Food is said to have a strong connection to its origin and thus this focus offers destinations a platform for marketing themselves hence appealing to travelers who wish to be incorporated into their destination through its flavors. Tourism companies have recently acknowledged the significance of gastronomy in the tourism diversification process as well as the stimulation of local, national and regional economic development (Cleave 533). Further, Food Tourism comprises sustainable and ethical values that have their basis on the landscape, the territory, local products, the sea, authenticity and local culture, something that is not new with todays cultural consumption trends (Hall 79). Therefore, Food Tourism applies to a case in which tourists plan a trip either partially or entirely to have a taste of their new localitys products, or to participate in gastronomy-related activities. As it will be observed in this paper, gastronomy plays a key role in tourist destination development across the world. To adequately address the research questions, data from Hawaii Tourism Authority will be used. The research questions to this paper are as follows:
What is Food Tourism and who are Food Travelers?
How did FT start and develop?
How can FT benefit local culture and travelers, and what are the risks associated with it?
Despite the advantages that Food Tourism has, it is also linked to a number of disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is the increased management time and cost that is associated with Food Tourism (Sigala 1002). Also, at the food business level, Food Tourism is said to require large capital and there is the possibility of being unable to significantly increase sales due to reasons such as remote location and inaccessibility. Further, Food Tourism is vulnerable to biosecurity risks and seasonality issues in addition to the opportunity costs associated with it (Hall 141). As argued by Clark, although everyone eats and drinks, not every one can be considered a food tourist (123). It then follows that the portion of committed food tourists is just a small segment of the market regardless of the tourists country of origin. Additionally, in some cases, tourists only eat what they are familiar with. This issue can also be viewed from a different angle whereby there are occasions in which the number of tourists with an interest in trying new foods is significantly large. Consequently, significant issues may arise in connection to the available and provided food because every visitor must eat. Also, the local actors operating in the tourism industry may lack the capability to meet the high food demand from customers because of their small-scale manpower (Hall 82).
Another disadvantage of Food Tourism is that by putting too much focus on connections between food and tourism, there is the possibility of having other opportunities going unexplored or failing to appropriately understand the market (Clark 177). Food tourism also negatively affects local food producers due to the challenges that may arise regarding the establishment of sustainable retail relations whereby disagreements may occur in terms of scale, delivery frequency and price.
Clark, Alek. Food tourism. Discovery Pub. House, 2011.
Cleave, Paul. Foodies and Food Tourism. Tourism Management, vol. 52, 2016, pp. 533534., doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2015.08.007.
Hall, C. Gastronomic tourism Comparing food and wine tourism experiences. Niche Tourism, 2005, pp. 7388., doi:10.1016/b978-0-7506-6133-1.50014-7.
Hall, C. Gastronomy, food and wine tourism. Tourism Business Frontiers, 2006, pp. 137147., doi:10.1016/b978-0-7506-6377-9.50023-7.
Sigala, Marianna. Food & Wine Tourism: Integrating Food, Travel and Tourism. Tourism Management, vol. 33, no. 4, 2012, pp. 10011002., doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2011.10.004.
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