The purpose of this article is to focus on travellers’ perceptions of culinary-gastronomic sensations as experiences and how these relate to the locality. The aim of the study is to explore the factors that contribute to travellers’ culinary-gastronomic dining experiences with an emphasis on the local food markets.
One-hundred and fifty-eight prospective travelers at an annual fair in Helsinki completed a self-administered survey questionnaire. On the questionnaire, the respondents were asked to rate the importance of 17 items related to eating and food experiences when deciding on a destination for their next leisure trip.
The findings reveal a frequency distribution of the sample characteristics and travel behavior, the respondents’ use of food and eating experiences as evaluative criteria when choosing travel destinations and latent factors of food and eating experiences. Based on an explorative factor analysis using a varimax abstraction method, the study concludes that eating and food experiences are influenced by the overall service (i.e. the food and where it is served and the dining setting and how it is served). The factors show that culinary-gastronomic food experiences are founded on local, original and authentic food that represents the local food culture.
The study attempts to provide insights into aspects to consider for promotional activities related to local food and, ultimately, as a means for destination branding. The Finnish sample has a casual attitude to food, where new but also rather mundane experiences are sought. Accordingly, slow food preparation and atmospherics contribute to local food experiences that may lure travelers to revisit certain locations.
Local food as a means of culinary-gastronomic sensations deserves scholarly attention, as many questions related to its consumption by tourists remain unanswered. Accordingly, the topic of the current study is truly timely and this research contributes by studying a rather unchartered issue.
Björk, P. and Kauppinen-Räisänen, H. (2014), "Culinary-gastronomic tourism – a search for local food experiences", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 44 No. 4, pp. 294-309. https://doi.org/10.1108/NFS-12-2013-0142Download as .RIS
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