Individuals including tourists are known to be selective as to what they consider as appropriate food. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the traditional foods consumed by international tourists during their stay in Ghana, using the Analytical Hierarchical Process Model.
The data used for the study were collected from a random sample of 675 out‐bound international tourists in Ghana at the departure lounge of the Kotoka International Airport between February and March, 2010.
In total, 17 traditional foods were popular among Ghana's international tourists, with red red being the most favoured food whilst impotupotu was the least preferred food. It was concluded that Ghana has the potential to have a thriving local food industry that could be based on the seven topmost foods.
As the first description of traditional food preferences among Ghana's international visitors, this study is intended to provide a strong point for more in‐depth studies of the special qualities and attractiveness of the various traditional foods in Ghana.
The observation that international tourists on holiday in Ghana patronize a great variety of Ghanaian foods suggests that there is a substantial market of food‐interested visitors that needs to be nurtured. The current awareness and interest in Ghanaian foods need to be sustained by improving on the packaging, service quality, and sanitary conditions of most eating places, as well as the efficiency of regulatory institutions including the Food and Drugs Board, the Ghana Standards Board, and the Ghana Tourists Board Given that red red is more likely to sell or be consumed by Ghana's international visitors, food operators, including restaurants, food vendors, traditional catering points and hotels have to be sensitized to include this food item in their menus at all times.
This finding also signifies that the country can reduce loss of revenue overseas if the large food imports to feed international tourists are reduced. The consumption of locally produced food items and the utilization of local ingredients in the preparation of tourist menus are known to reduce imports and leakage of tourism revenue from the local economy. The study also has a potential of assisting Ghana to project its culture through food. It has been established that traditional foods constitute essential components in the understanding of the culture of a society and also constitute an important medium for cultural expression.
This study makes a valuable contribution by highlighting tourists' tastes in Ghana. Finally, an insight into tourists' food consumption and preferences is vital to the maximization of the potential associated with tourism. Researchers such as Mitchell et al., suggest that consumer behaviour research is important for stakeholders in the wine and food industry because it can help provide important insights into who the wine or food tourist is and how marketers – restaurant and café owners, bed and breakfast operators, food producers and managers – can effectively target and develop markets.
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