Traditional agri-food products as a leverage to motivate tourists: A meta-analysis of tourism-information websites

Carlo Cafiero (Department of Economic and Social Development, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy)
Monica Palladino (Department of Agraria, Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, Reggio Calabria, Italy)
Claudio Marcianò (Department of Agraria, Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, Reggio Calabria, Italy)
Giuseppa Romeo (Department of Agraria, Università degli Studi Mediterranea di Reggio Calabria, Reggio Calabria, Italy)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Publication date: 11 November 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide evidence on the extent to which traditional agri-food products (TFPs) constitute a leverage to promote tourism in the province of Reggio Calabria, Italy, and discuss ways in which community-led local development governance institutions might enhance it.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on a review of existing information on Calabrian TFPs to classify them by area of production and identify those that are specific or relatively small areas, in addition to a qualitative analysis of the content of the texts of a sample of websites promoting tourism in the region.

Findings

Though food is one of the leverages used to promote tourism in Calabria, TFPs are not yet sufficiently exploited to attract tourists to the province of Reggio Calabria, in spite of their potential as a vital expression of local culture and traditions.

Research limitations/implications

The selection of the websites used in the study may not be exhaustive of the full spectrum of Web-based promotion of tourism in Calabria.

Practical implications

The results provide useful insights to public and private institutions responsible for rural development and tourism promotion in Calabria. The database on the TFPs of the province of Reggio Calabria permits an easy reading of the geographical distribution of the different categories of products, useful as a resource for further studies and as a local development policy support tool.

Social implications

Promoting a form of culturally sensitive, food-based tourism in the interior areas of Calabria may constitute an important factor to revert the trend towards impoverishment, migration of young people and depopulation of the interior areas of Calabria. This is a particularly sensitive issue in Italy today, in view of the difficulties that other strategies pursued in the area are facing.

Originality/value

Existing literature on typical food products in Italy focuses on those labelled by denomination of origin and geographic protection. This is one of the first papers focusing on TFPs labelled as Prodotti agroalimentari tradizionali in the Italian legislation. By exploring the role of local food and traditions in promoting tourism, this paper expands the scope of existing studies of rural tourism and on rural development in Calabria, and beyond.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was conducted as part of Gastrocert: Gastronomy and Creative Entrepreneurship in Rural Tourism, a JPI Heritage Plus project. The authors wish to thank the Editor, Professor Peter Varley, and two anonymous referees for the useful comments, which have allowed to greatly improve the article.

Citation

Cafiero, C., Palladino, M., Marcianò, C. and Romeo, G. (2019), "Traditional agri-food products as a leverage to motivate tourists: A meta-analysis of tourism-information websites", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 195-214. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMD-05-2019-0032

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Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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