Gastronomy for Tourism Development

Cover of Gastronomy for Tourism Development

Potential of the Western Balkans



Table of contents

(11 chapters)

Being the basic need of humans, but also an attractive element of the tourist offer, gastronomy is related to the attractiveness of a destination, and Balkan gastronomy is considered to be one of the most positive aspects of the tourist image of the region. This study aims to investigate the locals' perception of gastronomic specificity of ‘Balkan food’ and national (local) food as well. Furthermore, the study investigated how ‘Balkan food’ is perceived in terms of its tourist potential, uniqueness, quality, nutrition and its general role in the creation of a joint ‘Balkan’ tourist brand. The methodology included a historical approach and a survey which involved110 respondents. Out of 21 traditional dishes identified in the official tourist promotional activities of selected countries and a review of the relevant literature, the following are identified as regional ‘Balkan’ dishes: ‘pečenje’, ‘musaka’, ‘ćevapi’ and ‘sarma’. The following are identified as national dishes: ‘pastrmajlija’, ‘sogan dolma’, ‘raštan’, ‘pašticada’, ‘burek’ and ‘svadbarski kupus’. The results indicated that some nations have specific knowledge of certain dishes being considered national and regionally present, while other nations show a lack of knowledge of food origin and regional presence in identified countries. Furthermore, the results showed that different dimensions of Balkan cuisine significantly contribute to the tourist potential of the region, while the contribution of its nutritive characteristics is perceived as less important. Results showed that ‘Balkan food’ is considered to be important for the improvement of the ‘Balkans'’ image and promotion, as well as important for the creation of the regional tourism brand.


The aim of this chapter is mainly to explore the gastronomic offer of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a special emphasis on Bosnian cheese varieties, as well as the potentials and opportunities for the advancement of gastronomy in tourist offer in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Several studies have shown gastronomy to be the main reason for visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina. An important part of gastronomic offer is the variety of Bosnian cheese. The most popular types of cheese in Bosnia and Herzegovina are Livno and Vlašić cheese.

Livno cheese belongs to the group of the most popular autochthonous cheese in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Livno cheese is produced in the town of Livno and its surrounding areas, such as Kupres, Glamoč and Tomislavgrad. Originally, it was made of sheep's milk but nowadays, it is mostly made from a mixture of sheep's and cow's milk. Vlašić cheese is a white cheese which matures in brine. Traditional Vlašić cheese is made with raw sheep milk. It is produced in central Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the Vlašić Mountain.

The goal is to discover how Livno and Vlašić cheeses can be included in the gastronomic offer of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to discover how to use gastronomy for the purposes of tourism development in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Slovenia lies at the crossroads of the Alpine, Mediterranean and Pannonian regions, and this variety of geographical landscapes is reflected in its diverse and rich culinary heritage. Down the centuries, the diverse culinary heritage developed as part of everyday life and the festive calendar in close correlation to whatever nature provided and to the standard of living.

In 2006 Slovenia adopted the Gastronomic Strategy of Slovenia, which includes a culinary pyramid with 24 gastronomic regions and over 360 distinct dishes with a local character. Posavje with Bizeljsko represents one of the gastronomic regions of Slovenia. The National Gastronomic Strategy lists the following dishes and wines for the Posavje Region: pofaláča, bizeljski ajdov kolač (Bizeljsko buckwheat cake), koruzna prga (corn cake), pleteno srce (plaited-dough heart), bizeljska mlinčevka (Bizeljsko flat cake tart) and white and red wine Bizeljčan. These dishes and wines represent the foundation of the distinct culinary identity of the Posavje and Bizeljsko Region.

The aim of this chapter is to define the culinary heritage of the Posavje Region and identify its special and characteristic taste. A mix of methods including qualitative research, field research, expert groups and workshops was applied to identify dishes, recipes and ingredients in everyday and festive cuisine as well as cuisine related to different jobs and tasks. A gastronomic pyramid of the Posavje Region was developed and culinary workshops were conducted to introduce regional gastronomy to tourism. Challenges identified in the project exposed the need for the establishment of local supply chains, good cooperation among stakeholders in tourism, quality assurance, branding and other issues related to local tourism and gastronomic development.


In the last 3 decades, the rapid growth of tourism activities is evident. Globally, tourism is becoming of prime importance for the development of local economies. A similar trend is observed in the Balkan region and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The total contribution of tourism in GDP of Bosnia and Herzegovina growth is evident, from 2.0% in 2011 to 2.6% in 2017, with bright forecasts from United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) which predicted the 3.4% share of tourism in national GDP by 2028. With aim to indicate the development potential of the touristic sector, gastro tourism sector was ‘screened’ through questionnaires with tourists (n = 245) and with destination management offices (n = 7). This approach should provide insights into stakeholder's capability to understand and react to new challenges that brings gastro tourism; insights into the current gastro offer; and insight into profile, motives and overall tourist's satisfaction. Main findings of the study show that the stakeholders' activities and understandings are not enough to provide a unique identity to the sector. On the other hand, tourists' profile and expectations rise with level and type of information they gather, and this study shows that tourists' expectations are more influenced by the age, education and gender of the tourists', while their satisfaction depends on the working status and monthly income. Future research, which is also the main implication of this study, should follow three main avenues: (1) how to build efficient governance mechanism to ensure development of strong stakeholder network able to create, execute and reinvent shared vision and strategic plan; (2) building knowledge and understanding of local culinary system and practice as step ahead in process of territory interpretation and transformation into the valuable intangible touristic resources; and (3) gastro tourist needs, wishes and ways to engage tourist.


The aim of the research was to analyse the image of Vojvodina's cuisine and tourist satisfaction with food experience as part of a rural tourism offer in Vojvodina province (Serbia). This chapter is based on research carried out among 891 foreign tourists who visited villages in Vojvodina. The obtained results were examined via exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis, multiple regression analysis (stepwise method) and T-test. The obtained results indicated that factors like food uniqueness and cultural heritage, food quality and price, nutrition and health benefits of food and affective image of food influence the image of local cuisine. The results showed that local cuisine (food) can serve as a tool for building destination's brand identity. The study pointed out the role and significance of the image of local cuisine on rural tourist attractions but also on tourist satisfaction with food experience. Also, the contribution of the research is reflected in three aspects: theoretical implication, methodological and practical contribution.


The importance of gastronomy for tourism development has been broadly recognised in academic literature and practice, as it represents an essential element of tourism services and has a significant impact on customer satisfaction. Gastronomy in the Western Balkans has attracted increasing attention from tourism and hospitality researchers since the fall of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. As a relatively new topic in academic literature, it requires frequent and critical monitoring that can shed light on current research and practice and make needed adjustments in terms of future development. However, to date, there have been few systematic reviews of this body of work. As such, this study aims to fill this void by conducting a qualitative analysis of the development of gastronomy in the Republic of Slovenia. Particular attention has been devoted to the presentation of gastronomic heritage, tourism and policies implemented by Slovenian authorities in order to strategically develop the national gastronomic identity. Based on a literature review and interviews with experts from academia and practice, the findings reveal that for the successful development of gastronomy, a strategic approach to gastronomy and tourism development is needed. The development of gastronomy is also vital for the improvement of tourism and gastronomic services at the regional, local and entrepreneurial levels. The results of this study will be of interest to policymakers, researchers and practitioners. This research has also raised many questions requiring further investigation. It is suggested that future longitudinal studies include interviews with different groups of stakeholders and empirically investigate the different perspectives of gastronomy development.


This chapter aims to conceptualise the role of gastronomy and events in destination strategic development and explore the possibility for destination management organisations (DMOs) to capitalise their potential. Thus, it firstly explores the role of gastronomy and events in contemporary tourism and their impact on destination appeal, authenticity and development. Secondly, it delves into the possible ways by which DMOs can utilise events to achieve destination goals and competitiveness. As gastro events are a common denominator of gastro-tourism and events, they are given special attention. In the empirical part, two prominent destinations in the most developed tourism country of the Western Balkans, Croatia, are analysed. Also, in the empirical part, archival analysis is used to analyse relevant documentation and sources covering the 2016–2018 period. In the analysis, the strategic role of gastronomy, events and DMOs' activities and budgets are explored to unveil the existing interlinkages and patterns among them. The contribution of the study is the systematisation and critical review of existing literature on the role of gastronomy and events in the destination offer and of DMOs' usage of events for achieving destination goals and competitiveness. The chapter provides valuable implications for destination strategic management and marketing as well as for future academic studies on the subject.


Building on a TripAdvisor data for five Mediterranean destinations, namely, Greece, Croatia, Italy, France and Spain, this study analyses the constituents of restaurants' online reputation and their interrelation with destination competitiveness, in particular two Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) pillars, namely, Prioritisation of Travel and Tourism and Price Competitiveness.

The analysis has revealed that restaurants' online reputation is positively influenced by two factors, namely, Core elements, i.e. cooking, service and price-quality ratio, and Price. Furthermore, the restaurants' online reputation does not influence destination competitiveness (TTCI) directly, but indirectly throughout its main constituents, i.e. service and price. Price is the only variable with significant influence on overall TTCI. Within the sample of these destinations, Balkan countries, i.e. Greece and Croatia, perform very well in terms of their restaurants' online reputation. On the other hand, considering the overall TTCI rating, their competitive positions are substantially lower than those of Italy, France and Spain.

The study provides new insights into the relationship between gastronomic offer and destination competitiveness, and valuable practical implications for destination and hospitality management. Moreover, this study addresses various gaps in existing research on this topic. Specifically, it validates the reputation elements presented online using TripAdvisor data and analyses the impact of electronic Word of Mouth (eWOM) not only as the outcome variable of other constructs, as is the case in the literature, but also as a central construct of the analysis. In doing so, it extends current research on this topic and fills the gap regarding the inclusion of the supply-side stakeholder perspective, which has long been recognised as necessary in any attempts to measure competitiveness.


Today tourism is recognised as a very complex social and economic phenomenon having a spatial, socio-cultural, economic, political, educational and environmental dimension. Furthermore, tourismis transformingtowards an individual and his/her needs, desires and interests, with a full respect for the surroundings and environment, which are given an increasing importance. Consequently, there have been changes not only in the structure of tourist consumption and in the behaviour of tourists, but also in the concept of a tourist offer. In this sense, numerous forms of special interest tourism are increasingly being developed in response to the needs of modern tourists to experience something new, authentic and different from their everyday environment. Tourists, saturated with the global trends' consequences that dominantly foster a kind of uniformity on their trips, are increasingly looking for the uniqueness or experience that is different from their own culture. Gastronomy, as a part of the local community's cultural identity, stood out as an authentic element of the tourist destination's offer, to which tourists are increasingly paying attention, which is increasingly becoming the basic motive of travelling for modern tourists.

Taking into account the current trends of the leading global source markets of the world, as well as the growing need to create a common tourist offer of the Western Balkan economies, this concept of Mountain Breakfast applied in the Western Serbia Region could represent a good example and a platform for connecting tradition, local producers, gastronomy and tourism.


This chapter examines the financial performance efficiency of the restaurant sector in Croatian counties over the period 2013–2017. Today's tourists are ambitious explorers who travel in order to find and explore new experiences and motives for travelling as long as there are interesting things, activities and offers which correspond to their preferences. Among the many motives that today's tourist decides to travel, gastronomic tourism certainty plays an important role. The observation period began in 2013, since that was the year when Croatia acceded to the European Union and joined all the other prominent European food destinations. In order to evaluate the financial performance efficiency, the methodology of the data envelopment analysis (DEA) was applied separately to the data processing of each year. The results of the Charnes–Cooper–Rhodes model showed that only four counties (Lika-Senj, Zadar, Istria and Dubrovnik-Neretva) achieved continuous efficiency over the whole observed period. In 2013 the results of scale efficiency showed that 10 counties (Krapina-Zagorje, Karlovac, Bjelovar-Bilogora, Lika-Senj, Požega-Slavonia, Zadar, Šibenik-Knin, Split-Dalmatia, Istria and Dubrovnik-Neretva) achieved a score of 1, and in later years there was a decrease. One of the main obstacles of the existing inefficiencies in the entire restaurant sector in Croatian counties is certainly changeable tax legislation and lack of employees in the restaurant sector.

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