Abstract and Figures

Gastro-tourism, a niche that attracts billions in revenue worldwide, involves intentional pursuits of authentic memorable culinary experiences while travelling internationally, regionally or locally. For gastro-tourists, food is the motivation for travel; the locations merely functions as vehicles for gastronomic experiences (food-related-activities that involve behind-the-scenes observations, cultural/regional illuminations and often hands-on participation, culminating in partaking food or drink.) This paper identifies three phases of travel and corresponding elements essential for the creation of new gastro-tourism enterprises. It introduces the significance of shared Gastro-Tourism Brand Promises, agreed upon, cross marketed, and fulfilled by individual hosts, groups/networks, and regional/government entities. By providing basic infrastructure elements – health, safety, transportation and communication; identifying loosely organised home-grown resources and talent; creating and marketing shared brand promises; and incorporating ongoing feedback during three travel phases; emerging markets in underdeveloped countries and underdeveloped pockets in developed nations can ignite and maintain successful gastro-tourist enterprises. Biographical notes: Helena A. Williams is a Partner and Co-founder with Mar-Kadam Associates, a marketing firm that specialises in branding, rebranding, and renaming in service industries and entrepreneurial ventures. Her research interests include economic development through entrepreneurship, emerging market entrepreneurship, gastro-tourism, education, and social services. Previous experience includes 20 years of entrepreneurial management as President of a state-wide educational training, event and conference-planning firm in Pennsylvania, and owner and executive chef at Baltimore's first gastro cafe and gallery. Her current academic work includes curriculum development and teaching entrepreneurship courses, and consultation with small business and local venture capital networks. Robert L. Williams Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. He has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal co-authored a textbook chapter on management of innovation in SMEs, as well as presented at conferences and workshops. After 20 years as a practitioner in Fortune 50/500 companies, his current academic research interests focus on competitive advantage, branding, innovation, higher education, and market entry strategies. Maktoba Omar is a Reader in Marketing Strategy at Edinburgh Napier University, specialising in international marketing, emerging markets and foreign direct investment. She has undertaken a range of knowledge transfer and commercial projects with business in the areas of international marketing and marketing strategy. This has included academic supervision of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership and a number of consultancy projects. She is a Director of Studies and supervises a number of PhD and DBA students nationally, and internationally. She has also published, edited and refereed a number of academic journals. She is a member of a range of professional organisations including the Academy of Marketing, the Academy of International Business and the Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.
Content may be subject to copyright.
I
nt. J. Leisure and Tourism Marketin
g
, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2014 1
Copyright © 2014 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
Gastro-tourism as destination branding in emerging
markets
Helena A. Williams*
Mar-Kadam Associates,
Greater Chicago Area, 46545 USA
E-mail: helenawill@gmail.com
*Corresponding author
Robert L. Williams Jr.
Marketing and International Business,
Department of Business Administration and Economics,
Saint Mary’s College,
Notre Dame, IN 46556-5001, USA
E-mail: rlwjr@saintmarys.edu
Maktoba Omar
Edinburgh Napier University,
The Business School,
Craiglockhart Campus,
Edinburgh, EH14 1DJ, UK
E-mail: m.omar@napier.ac.uk
Abstract: Gastro-tourism, a niche that attracts billions in revenue worldwide,
involves intentional pursuits of authentic memorable culinary experiences
while travelling internationally, regionally or locally. For gastro-tourists, food
is the motivation for travel; the locations merely functions as vehicles for
gastronomic experiences (food-related-activities that involve behind-the-scenes
observations, cultural/regional illuminations and often hands-on participation,
culminating in partaking food or drink.) This paper identifies three phases
of travel and corresponding elements essential for the creation of new gastro-
tourism enterprises. It introduces the significance of shared Gastro-Tourism
Brand Promises, agreed upon, cross marketed, and fulfilled by individual hosts,
groups/networks, and regional/government entities. By providing basic
infrastructure elements – health, safety, transportation and communication;
identifying loosely organised home-grown resources and talent; creating and
marketing shared brand promises; and incorporating ongoing feedback during
three travel phases; emerging markets in underdeveloped countries and
underdeveloped pockets in developed nations can ignite and maintain
successful gastro-tourist enterprises.
Keywords: destination branding; gastro-tourism; gastro-experiences; emerging
markets; culinary tourism; food tourism; place branding; gastronomic
destination branding.
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Reference to this paper should be made as follows: Williams, H.A.,
Williams Jr., R.L. and Omar, M. (2014) ‘Gastro-tourism as destination
branding in emerging markets’, Int. J. Leisure and Tourism Marketing, Vol. 4,
No. 1, pp.1–18.
Biographical notes: Helena A. Williams is a Partner and Co-founder with
Mar-Kadam Associates, a marketing firm that specialises in branding,
rebranding, and renaming in service industries and entrepreneurial ventures.
Her research interests include economic development through entrepreneurship,
emerging market entrepreneurship, gastro-tourism, education, and social
services. Previous experience includes 20 years of entrepreneurial management
as President of a state-wide educational training, event and conference-planning
firm in Pennsylvania, and owner and executive chef at Baltimore’s first gastro
cafe and gallery. Her current academic work includes curriculum development
and teaching entrepreneurship courses, and consultation with small business
and local venture capital networks.
Robert L. Williams Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Saint Mary’s
College, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. He has published in peer-reviewed
journals such as Journal of Product & Brand Management (Emerald Literati
2008 Award for Excellence winner), Journal of Brand Management, Journal of
Marketing for Higher Education and Journal of Technology Management &
Innovation; co-authored a textbook chapter on management of innovation in
SMEs, as well as presented at conferences and workshops. After 20 years
as a practitioner in Fortune 50/500 companies, his current academic
research interests focus on competitive advantage, branding, innovation, higher
education, and market entry strategies.
Maktoba Omar is a Reader in Marketing Strategy at Edinburgh Napier
University, specialising in international marketing, emerging markets and
foreign direct investment. She has undertaken a range of knowledge
transfer and commercial projects with business in the areas of international
marketing and marketing strategy. This has included academic supervision
of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership and a number of consultancy projects.
She is a Director of Studies and supervises a number of PhD and DBA students
nationally, and internationally. She has also published, edited and refereed a
number of academic journals. She is a member of a range of professional
organisations including the Academy of Marketing, the Academy of
International Business and the Institute of Learning and Teaching in Higher
Education.
1 Introduction
This paper begins by capturing the multitude of definitions and descriptions that
characterise the international food-related tourist industry segment within the broader
tourism field. The paper presents a rough framework comprised of lists, charts and
models that can be used as a way to sort and label the various components of this
segment of the tourist market/industry. The literature and internet review represents
research, active real-time projects, programmes, and impressions from self-identified
culinary/gastronomic/food tourists and industry experts and researchers. The proposed
checklists and models are useful guides and tools, especially for emerging countries,
cities, regions, towns, villages and neighbourhoods in under-represented areas that may
Gastro-tourism as destination branding in emerging markets 3
be in positions to take advantage of this expansive business opportunity. Although
Destination Branding in this tourist segment may look very different from country to
country or town to village, key critical components and clearly successful branding
strategies have been identified. This preliminary research suggests that the gastro-tourism
industry is growing exponentially and it is possible to ignite and maintain a successful
culinary tourism business with:
basic key infrastructure elements – health, safety, transportation and
communication
loosely organised homegrown resources and rich talent
a consistently marketed brand promise
an ongoing feedback loop.
2 Literature review
Gastro-tourism is a new field and little academic research has been formally published.
The literature review begins with definitions and subcategories of tourism, and then
describes overlaps and terminology confusion specific to food-related tourism.
Place/Destination Branding is reviewed and gastro-tourism, where food and food
experiences themselves become the destination, is introduced. Considerations for creating
and branding gastro-experiences within emerging markets are exposed.
3 Definitions and subcategories of tourism
The term tourism generally refers to the act of staying outside of a normal living-working
environment for between one day and one year for recreational, leisure or business
reasons. Tourism is further broken down into domestic tourism (people travelling
within their own country) and international tourism (people travelling across country
borders or overseas). Within these two distinct categories exist multiple subcategories
of specialised tourist divisions that include but are not limited to the types listed
in Table 1.
Table 1 Specialised tourism categories
Tourism categories Explanation
Adventure or extreme tourism Travel to remote, exotic, sometimes hostile destinations; outside of
comfort zones
Agritourism Travel to dude ranches, country farms, country inns and rural bed
and breakfasts. Gastro-tourism links to agritourism
Backpacking – wilderness Hiking and camping in the backcountry
Backpacking – travel Low-cost, usually international; using public transportation; hostels
Cultural or heritage tourism Lifestyle, art, architecture, religion, cuisine, rituals. Gastro-tourism
is considered a subset
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Table 1 Specialised tourism categories (continued)
Tourism categories Explanation
Dark or war tourism
(also black or grief tourism)
Sites associated with: suffering and death, castles, battlefields,
natural and manmade disaster areas, prisons and dungeons, ghost
sightings
Disaster tourism Visiting areas affected by floods, hurricanes, volcanoes, etc.
Eco tourism Small-scale, low-impact travel to fragile, untouched and protected
areas
Educational tourism Student exchange programmes, internships abroad and study tours
Gastronomic, gastro or culinary
tourism (includes, wine, beer and
gourmet cuisine tourism)
Intentional pursuit of appealing, authentic, memorable food and
beverage related experiences of all kinds, while travelling
internationally, regionally or even locally. Links to cultural tourism
and agritourism
Genealogical tourism Concerned with researching personal familial lineage; linked to
heritage
Geo tourism Geographic character enhancement linked with ecotourism
GPS or off-trail hiking Relies on maps, compasses or GPS units; scavenger-style games.
Medical tourism Leaving home area to obtain healthcare, often surgical procedures;
or for the delivery of healthcare
Nautical tourism Travelling to port(s) by boat; often living on boats. Cruise ship
excursions is a subset
Pop culture tourism Locations featured in books, TV, current events, film, music, and
other forms of entertainment
Religious faith tourism Visiting holy sites for fellowship, missionary, healing or pilgrimage
Scuba tourism for the environment Focuses on obtaining info on marine biodiversity by collaborating
with volunteer dive tourists
Space tourism Trips into space – currently via the Russian space agency.
Sports tourism Travelling to sporting events, clinics, camps, outside living or
working areas
Sustainable tourism Emphasises making low impact on the environment and local
cultures and generating employment and positive experiences for
all stakeholders
Volunteerism Travelling for the purpose of charitable work, organised or
sponsored by non-profit or charitable groups
Wildlife tourism Observation of wild animals in their natural habitats
4 Overlaps and terminology confusion regarding food-related tourism
Food-related tourism refers to trips made to destinations where local food and beverages
are the main motivating factors for all or part of the travel. In its broadest sense,
gastro-tourism is defined as the intentional pursuit of appealing, authentic, memorable,
culinary experiences of all kinds, while travelling internationally, regionally or even
locally. The nature and quality of the gastro-experience is what matters the most.
A Gastro-experience is an authentic, memorable, food- or beverage-related activity
that involves behind-the-scenes observations accompanied with cultural or regional
Gastro-tourism as destination branding in emerging markets 5
illuminations, and often hands-on participation, that culminates in festive, casual, or
formal partaking of food or drink.
As Table 1 indicates, this specialised tourist niche is also referred to as: Culinary
Tourism, Gastronomy or Gastronomic Tourism, the abbreviated and hyphenated
Gastro-tourism, and the more generic Food Tourism that seems to be preferred in the
USA. Lesser-used or specialised labels heard predominately in the higher end tourist
markets include: Tasting Tourism, Gourmet Tourism, Cuisine Tourism, Food and Wine
Tourism, Wine Tourism, Beer Pub Tourism, Spa Cuisine, and other product or
region-specific terms or destination brands such as Poland Culinary Vacations.
Hall et al. (2003) used words and phrases such as experiential trip, gastronomic
regions, recreational or entertainment purposes, visits to primary and secondary
producers of food, gastronomic festivals, food fairs, events, farmers’ markets, cooking
shows, demonstrations, tastings of quality food products, and food-related activities
related to particular lifestyles and cultures. Gastronomy is an understanding of various
social cultures, historical components, literature, philosophy, economic status, religions
and others aspects, in which food is the core subject. Gastronomy products can refer not
just to food and beverages but also to food-related activities pertaining to culture and
heritage (Zahari et al., 2009). Food and travel blogs, researchers, industry practitioners,
and self proclaimed ‘foodies’ use the terms Culinary Tourism and Gastronomic or
Gastro-tourism somewhat interchangeably.
As opposed to mass tourism, niche tourism [such as gastronomic tourism] deals
with the study, participation and experiences within a locational region, and is part of the
adaptation from a services economy to an experience economy (Hall and Weiler, 1992;
Goeldner et al., 2000; Pine and Gilmore, 1999). Narrowly defined, Gastronomic Tourism
is a form of niche tourism motivated by food and/or drink (Hall and Mitchell, 2005;
Kivela and Crotts, 2006; Sims, 2009). The term ‘culinary tourism’ was defined as an
intentional exploratory participation in the foodways of someone considered an ‘Other’;
“an exploratory relationship with the edible world … whether you go to food or food
comes to you, the nature of the encounter is what defines a food experience as culinary
tourism” (Long, 1998, p.xi). The International Culinary Tourism Association (ICTA)
defines it as “the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences”,
while the UN World Tourism Organization consistently refers to this tourist niche as
gastronomic tourism or gastronomy, and defines it as “gastronomic tourism applies to
tourists and visitors who plan their trips partially or totally in order to taste the cuisine of
the place or to carry out activities related to gastronomy” (UNWTO, 2012, p.7).
According to Long (2004), it is widely accepted that the scholarship relevant to
culinary tourism comes primarily from three fields which very often overlap: Anthology
of Tourism; Folklore; and Food Studies. She elaborates that culinary tourism is put into
actions via festivals, public displays, presentations, new restaurant development,
nutritional guidelines, etc. “The cross discipline approach makes a survey of [culinary
tourism] literature “quite unwieldy” (Long, 2004, p.2). Studies related to food tourism
have been largely limited to areas such as food safety, hygiene issues, analyses of food
and wine festivals, supply issues, food production, food in tourism and cross-promotion
of tourism in regional or national cuisines (Hall et al., 2003). Additional research focuses
on encounters with gastronomic systems different from our own (Long, 2004);
gastronomic learning (Smith and Xiao, 2008); including familiar food to tourist in foreign
milieus (Wight, 2008); engagement with and affect on all five senses (Cook et al., 2002);
emotions generated by smell (Lindstrom, 2005); increased benefits and competitiveness
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via linkage to non-gastronomic tourism (Henderson, 2009); as a major motivation for
travel (Fox, 2007; Hall and Mitchell, 2005; Wolf, 2002). Gordin (2009) further stratifies
gastro-tourists into five types, and suggests economic reasons for creating gastronomic
brands.
5 Gastro tourists
In developed countries the gastro-tourism business is booming and has become one of
the most dynamic and creative segments of tourism, attracting billions of tourists
and revenue. A quick Google search turns up thousands of entries illustrating the interest
in this tourism niche. Foodies flock to France, Italy and Spain as well as to more
remote parts of the world to experience the culture and the people through traditional
foods and local beverages. Ageing population and changing life styles have driven
demand for food tourism opportunities, with populations that provide growing markets
for food tourism often categorised as: DINKS: (Dual Income No Kids): SINKS (Single
Income No Kids); Empty Nesters (parents whose children have left home): Baby
Boomers (members of the baby boom generation in the 1950s); and Divorcees
(About Tourism, 2012). A study by ICTA which focused on the behaviour of American
culinary tourists, found them to be comparable to culinary tourists in other countries,
notably Canada, Australia, Switzerland and the UK: “Culinary travellers are similar in
demographic and psychographic profiles in almost every country for which studies exist”
(ICTA, 2007, p.3). The ICTA study referenced the following significant findings
regarding culinary travellers:
they span all age groups
they span both genders, in all ethnic groups
they tend to be better educated
they span various income levels.
Over 33% of the money spent by tourists is dedicated to food (Quan and Wang, 2004);
food and food-related events are a key source of tourism (Hjalager and Richards, 2002;
Rao, 2001), and food is becoming an essential component in destination choice
motivation (Hall et al., 2003). In a recent survey (UNWTO, p.12) 88.2% of member
respondents indicated “gastronomy is a strategic element in defining the brand and image
of their destination”.
6 Motivation for gastro-tourism
Various definitions, factors, and models for tourist motivation have been suggested,
based upon the value and needs of consumers: tourist motivation definition (Pearce et al.,
1998); factors of motivation (Swarbrooke and Horner, 1999; Lee and Pearce, 2003;
Mannell and Iso-Ahola, 1987; Pearce and Lee, 2005); type and destination (Prebensen,
2007); measurement (Beard and Ragheb, 1983; Kim and Jogaratnam, 2002; Kozak,
2002); and motivations and destination choice (Moscardo et al., 1995). Kay (2003)
contends that food consumption itself is the ‘peak’ experience that motivates travellers.
Gastro-tourism as destination branding in emerging markets 7
With this realisation it is not surprising that interest in the development of food tourism
has increased (Kivela and Crotts, 2006), yet little specific research exists on “culinary,
gourmet, and gastronomy tours motivation” (Kim et al., 2010, p.60). Tikkanen (2007) did
identify five distinct motivations with respect to culinary travellers:
1 food itself is viewed as an attraction
2 foodstuffs are products that culinary tourists consume and purchase
3 food experiences are valued and sought
4 food is viewed and valued as a cultural phenomenon
5 linkages between tourism and food production are sought and valued.
She contends that specific individual needs of the gastro-tourist constitute the main
motivations for culinary tourism. Experiencing authentic food through interesting,
educational, enriching hands-on gastro-experiences becomes the focus and the motivation
for individual travellers, yet specific gastro-experiences are selected based upon unique
personal preferences and distinct motivations.
7 Place/destination branding
There is a growing body of practice and research around place or destination branding.
Place brand strategy is defined as “a plan for defining the most realistic, most
competitive, and most compelling strategic reason for the country, region, or city;
this vision then has to be fulfilled and communicated” (Anholt, 2004). Recurring themes
within the various disciplines that discuss place branding include: comparisons
between branding a product/service and destinations/cities (Cai, 2002; Gnoth, 2002;
Kavaratzis and Ashworth, 2005; Parkerson and Saunders, 2005); comparisons
between corporate branding and city brands (Kavaratzis, 2004; Olins, 2003; Trueman
et al., 2004); similarity to corporate umbrella branding (Gnoth, 2002; Papadopolos and
Heslop, 2002); impressions between place branding and (re)positioning (Gilmore, 2002);
image building and reconstruction (Curtis, 2001; Mitchell and Hall, 2004); the
importance of unique identity and use of branding elements (Cai, 2002; Morgan et al.,
2004); and, the role of emotional links with consumers (Gilmore, 2002; Mitchell and
Hall, 2004).
Destination Branding involves the establishment and maintenance of an identity of
the destination brand – places where tourists visit be it countries, regions, or cities – and
are a key element involved with tourism (De Chernatony, 2010; Morgan et al., 2004).
Konecnik (2002) categorises a destination brand as a collection of products and services.
A destination brand identity includes 6–12 dimensions (Aaker and Joachimsthaler, 2000)
involving experiential, symbolic and functional benefits (Keller, 1993). The destination
brand must be authentic, and ‘organic and self-developing’ (Olins, 2004). Indeed,
in terms of nation branding every destination now competes for position with all other
destinations (Anholt, 2007).
While destination branding offers the opportunity to counter the problem of place
substitutability, there are a number of challenges that must be addressed when branding
places.
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Destination Branding involves a wide variety of stakeholders; volatile external
environment; potentially difficult heritage issues; and budgetary pressures (Balakrishvan,
2009, Morgan et al., 2004; Pike, 2005). Other challenges include the multidimensionality
of the place (Marzano and Scott, 2005), politics (Gilmore, 2002; Hankinson, 2004;
Parkerson and Saunders, 2005; Pike, 2005), funding (Palmer, 2001 cited in Morgan et al.,
2002), the external environment (Morgan et al., 2004) and creating differentiation
(Morgan et al., 2002). As a relatively new field of study, a lack of empirical research on
place branding has been noted (Caldwell and Freire, 2004). Since the motivations
for eating particular foods are complex, varied and personal and what a gastro-tourist
considers memorable can vary drastically from one to another, the geographic location
appears to be secondary. Food remains the star attraction, actually replacing geographic
location as the brand destination. The place or location is just the vehicle, or the
backdrop, for experiencing authentic food in meaningful ways.
8 Gastronomy as a driver of destination branding
A national survey done in partnership with the Travel Industry Association (TIA),
Gourmet magazine and the World Food Travel Association (WFTA) revealed that
27 million American Travellers (17%) engaged in culinary or wine-related activities
while travelling. On average they spent $1194 per trip with about 36% ($425) going
towards food-related activities. The segment that the survey labelled ‘deliberate’ food
travellers, where culinary activities were the key reasons for the trip, spent on average
$77 more for the entire trip ($1271), and even more significantly, 47% of that total
($593) was spent on food-related activities. Surprisingly, those travellers identified as
wine travellers spent less on average per trip ($950), but did spend about the same 36%
($339) on wine-related activities (WFTA, 2011). According to the Barcelona Field
Studies Centre (2012), increases in food tourism are driven by five trends:
1 trading up: consumers spend a higher portion of their income on discretionary
purchases when the product/experience is aspiration and down when it is only
function
2 demographic and household changes: an aging population and lifestyle changes have
driven demand for increased eating out and food tourism opportunities
3 rejection of ‘MacDonaldisation’: tourists reject low cost mass-produced foods that
are perceived as bland and lacking individuality, searching out instead local, fresh,
cuisine that reflects authenticity of the destination
4 growth of the multi-cultural consumer: immigration, globalisation, the internet, have
spurred a relentless growth in international tourism
5 the celebrity chef and media: the niche of food programmes, TV channels and
magazines have created food celebrities and experts to emulate.
Gastro-tourism as destination branding in emerging markets 9
9 Gastro-tourism in emerging markets
To attract gastro-tourists, a destination needs to make the trip not only appealing from
a food-related perspective, but also accessible enough for tourists to actually get there.
With minimal basic infrastructure elements, a little organisation, a bit of local hospitality,
and targeted marketing, emerging markets in underdeveloped countries as well as
underdeveloped pockets in developed nations can become gastro-tourism destinations for
travellers who yearn for intimate cultural immersion through authentic food adventures.
Gastro-tourism growth in emerging markets is only achieved when both accessibility
and attraction are complimentary. Figure 1 identifies elements essential for the creation
of new gastro-tourism enterprises. The elements are explained in greater detail in
subsequent sections.
Figure 1 Gastro-tourism enterprise creation elements (see online version for colours)
10 Infrastructure
It seems encouraging that new markets in emerging nations or less affluent pockets
within more dominate markets can capitalise on this ever growing gastro-tourism niche to
provide economic, social and cultural benefits. Gastro-tourism is appreciated not only for
its own sake but also for its ability to generate economic growth. “Gastronomic tourism is
helping to increase rural revenue sources and improve income levels and employment
of local labour, especially women (Barcelona Field Studies Centre, 2012). By utilising
existing food resources and local experts a gastro-tourism programme can be launched,
even in remote parts of the world, provided key infrastructure exists. Regions,
towns, villages as well as independent hosts of gastro-experiences have found start-up
risks to be minimal, provided the following three basic infrastructure elements already
exist:
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clean water, healthy food handling, and effective sanitation practices
safe transport of people to and from various experiences
interactive internet capabilities to clearly articulate message and brand promise.
Figure 2 depicts this basic infrastructure demand.
Figure 2 Infrastructure elements necessary for gastro-tourism (see online version for colours)
11 Resource identification
The way a country, a region or even a local village or neighbourhood gathers, prepares
and serves food defines it’s food tourism potential. The best gastro-gathering events stem
from resources and products that are uniquely local, traditional, and are prepared and
consumed by the locals. Sharing culinary flavours and styles teaches world travellers
about people in other parts of the world or city in ways that geographical books, politics
or tours of museums and landmarks can never fully do. Emerging markets interested
in introducing gastro-tourism into their economy are encouraged to look at the resources
that already exist in their neighbourhoods, villages, towns, communities, cities and
countries. Communities can easily identify their town experts, often village matrons, who
might be eager to host gatherings for strangers willing to pay a fee to learn from them
about foods and practices that already exist. Communities can begin by looking at local
foods, festivals and harvesting seasons such as: Hairy Crab Season in Shanghai; China’s
Cold Food Festival; LaMancha’s Saffron Harvest, and avocado harvesting in Ghana.
According to the UNWTO study, 79% of gastro-tourists seek food events such as
festivals and tastings; 62% enjoy gastronomic tours, culinary routes and cooking classes,
and 53% explore markets and food producers. If a geographic area can identify at least
six hosts with interesting food-related opportunities who are willing to loosely organise
and continuously communicate, then gastro-tourism becomes a viable possibility – even
in an emerging market. The diagram (Figure 3) depicts this stage of the process.
Figure 3 Creating a gastro-tourism network or trail (see online version for colours)
Gastro-tourism as destination branding in emerging markets 11
12 Destination identity
Once a minimum of six hosted gastro-experiences are identified, a ‘trail’ or network can
be created to suit all hosts and potential tourists. How a local network decides to brand
their local food and food-related experiences is unique and highly individual. They can
create food trails so tourists can taste similar or uniquely different foods and preparations;
they can include kitchen gardens, cookery lessons in Mama’s kitchens, dining on the
docks, or bike tours through city streets. Regardless of the unique components, any
loosely formed group who wishes to advertise their gastro-possibilities to outsiders
should agree upon their collective brand promise: What is being promised to the
gastro-tourists that visit? This promise becomes the guiding force in the actual creation of
the events and experiences as well as in all marketing materials and messages regarding
the gastro-tourism enterprise. So, what exactly is being promised? Memorable authentic
local food-related experiences are a must. But, a community can also offer, fun, warmth,
a glimpses into unique cultures, customs, rituals, hands-on cooking, and expert lectures
and demonstrations. What each community is able and willing to promise will be unique.
How this promise is to be actualised (experienced by the gastro-tourist market) is what
should be central to the gastro-tourism branding campaign.
Following are examples of two existing gastro-tourism initiatives.
1 The Global Hansik Initiative was created and launched in 2008 to popularise Korean
food by focusing on the health benefits and uniqueness of Korean cuisine both in
Korea and around the world (MIFAFF, 2008). In this instance Korean Food itself
becomes the ‘destination’ and food purveyors all over the world have loosely
organised around a collective brand promise – sharing the health benefits and
uniqueness of Korean food.
2 The Tourism Bureau of Taiwan has launched its new global campaign slogan:
‘Taiwan — The Heart of Asia’. The campaign “features a heart containing some
of the crucial elements of Taiwan, including food, culture, festive events and
biodiversity” (Shan, 2011) (see online version for colours).
In both examples, all related marketing components consistently reflect a shared
brand promise, of gastro-experiences. Successful gastro-tourism branding campaigns
encompasses:
individual hosts
sub-groups or trails of hosts, even if only loosely organised
the overall regional/government entity.
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For example, the success of the Hansik Initiative brand identity/equity depends upon
each individual food-related business
organised local sub-groups that include Korean restaurants and takeout
establishments, specialty Korean grocers, Korean clubs, and Korean churches
the country of Korea and those government departments that regulate and promote
food and tourism.
Successful gastro-tourism initiatives cross-promote all three entities and address and
resolve any potential disconnects. Figure 4 symbolises the co-dependent nature of the
distinct entities, hence the importance of creating unique and consistent gastro-tourism
brand promises.
Figure 4 Illustration of gastro-tourism co-dependent brand promise (see online version
for colours)
Each individual host of a gastro-experience, plus the loosely formed network or trail,
and the geographical region/government have distinct features, interests, and unique
motivations, as illustrated by the different shapes. However successful new gastro-
tourism endeavours rely upon identifying common (overlapping) brand promises
that all three stakeholders can and do embrace. These co-dependent promises form the
overarching brand identity and help establish the initiative’s eventual brand equity.
The overlapping areas in Figure 4 depict this shared branding.
13 Market and promote
In a study highlighting what should be in a culinary tourism campaign, Harrington
and Ottenbacher, (2010) identified six key areas associated with culinary tourism
success:
1 the strategy itself
2 cooperation among stakeholders
Gastro-tourism as destination branding in emerging markets 13
3 leadership issues
4 culinary profile promotion
5 communication of quality
6 enhancing tourist perceptions.
The first three areas (strategy, stakeholder cooperation, and leadership) are important
considerations for the purveyors of the gastro-events. The remaining three areas
(culinary profile/brand identity, quality and tourist perceptions form the backbone of the
marketing effort [and ongoing evaluation] involved in a gastro-tourism effort. Kay (2003,
p.64) advises that “in the early stages of the motivational process, marketing
communication campaigns and activities, in particular, have an important role to play
in converting positive attitudes and motives for attending cultural experiences into
actual attendees”, therefore how the shared brand promise is articulated and promoted
will be pivotal in attracting gastro-tourists to new gastronomic destinations. Additionally,
how new destinations communicate about successful gastro-experiences will impact
future tourists as well as possible new local hosts who could strengthen the effort and
create an even richer gastro-tourism enterprise, bringing greater regional prestige,
additional employment opportunities, and the potential for increased economic
development.
When developing a marketing plan for a new gastro-tourism enterprise it is important
to consider the various factors that impact tourists in each of three phases:
1 before they depart
2 on their journey
3 at each on-site gastro-experience.
During each phase, recognition that the gastro-tourist craves authentic memorable
food-related experiences should be prominent. A co-dependent brand promise that
consistently promotes and delivers authentic quality experiences beginning even before
the tourist leaves home is critical. Figure 5 segments a gastro-tourism excursion into
these three phases
1 communication (before leaving home)
2 logistics (getting there)
3 the experience(s) (while on-site).
It also identifies some, but not necessarily all of the factors that are essential
considerations during each phase – that should become part of all marketing and
implementation strategies.
Additionally, as discussed earlier, the infrastructure and the gastro-experience
network must be ready and able to accommodate the tourist demand generated by the
marketing efforts.
14
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Figure 5 Marketing and implementation considerations during three travel phases (see online
version for colours)
14 Evaluate and incorporate feedback
A continuous monitoring cycle is essential for a gastro-tourism effort to take hold
and to grow. It is necessary to constantly monitor tourist expectations, individual host
needs and gross economic and infrastructure demands of the region. By staying on top of
tourist demands for health, transportation, safety, communication, and brand promise
satisfaction, the gastro-tourism effort can minimise potential risks and capitalise on
existing and potential benefits. Therefore, ongoing feedback from all stakeholders at key
feedback touchpoints during all phases optimises the gastro-tourism initiative.
15 Conclusion
Gastro-tourism refers to the intentional pursuit of appealing, authentic, memorable
culinary experiences of all kinds, while travelling internationally, regionally or even
locally. A Gastro-experience is an authentic, memorable, food- or beverage-related
activity that involves behind-the-scenes observations accompanied with cultural or
regional illuminations, and often hands-on participation, that culminates in festive,
casual, or formal partaking of food or drink. Food remains the star attraction, actually
replacing location as the destination brand. The place or location is just the vehicle, or the
backdrop, for experiencing authentic food in meaningful ways. Although Destination
Branding in this tourist segment may look very different from country-to-country or
town-to-town, this preliminary research suggests that it is possible to ignite a successful
culinary tourism business with:
minimal adjustments to a few necessary, but considerably basic infrastructures such
as health and safety, transportation and communication
a loosely organised spattering of homegrown resources and rich talent
Gastro-tourism as destination branding in emerging markets 15
an organised and marketed unique promise or brand
an ongoing feedback process that monitors tourist and stakeholder satisfaction during
all three travel phases regarding the shared brand promise.
Most importantly, the co-dependent aspects of all stakeholders must be recognised,
embraced and reflected in the marketing and implementation of the gastro-tourism brand
promise. Emerging markets in underdeveloped countries as well as underdeveloped
pockets in developed nations can become gastro-tourism destinations for travellers
who yearn for intimate cultural immersion through authentic food adventures.
16 Future research
Future research should be considered regarding gastro-tourism features or components
that constitute satisfaction and success from three distinct views:
1 the consumer-customer (tourist) point of view
2 the view of the purveyors of individual food-related experiences
3 the collective community view of the larger destination (town, village,
neighbourhood, city, county, region, country, and the respective government views).
The following areas of future research are proposed. First, regarding gastro-tourists,
what expectations do they have of singular events/experiences? What do they expect/
demand/require? How far will they travel? How much will they spend? What are they
willing to do to experience a foodie adventure? How is success measured? Second, in
terms of hosts of gastro-experiences, what expectations do tourists have for individual
gastro-experiences? What must they do or have? What do they need? How is success
measured? What successful marketing and customer service tips can be shared? Finally,
what are the expectations of the geographic and government entities regarding
gastro-tourism events/experiences within their jurisdiction? What does the village/
neighbourhood/town/city/region/country want? What must it do or have? How is success
measured? Has the gastro-tourism project generated jobs or spurred economic growth?
In addition to quantitative studies or qualitative primary research it would also be
valuable to conduct case study analysis of how existing gastro-tourism clusters/groups
were formed and how they function, synthesising feedback from the same three
perspectives: tourist, host of gastro-experiences and geographic/government entities.
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... E-WOM is not limited to circulating only between people who know each other; e-WOM collects and transmits information across the world between strangers as well (Chu and Kim, 2011). Thus, e-WOM collected from social media platforms has become critical (not incidental) data for marketers (Flynn et al., 1996;Williams et al., 2014). Successful companies create brand promises that are strongly influenced by consumer e-WOM; these brand promises that are co-created in partnership with e-WOM contributors and eventually co-marketed (via new e-WOM messages) are clearly linked to the company's reputation and are drivers for strategic marketing plans (Williams et al., 2014). ...
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... Not to be confused with the usual food tourism, gastro-tourism is branded as an authentic, memorable food and beverage experience that includes behindthe-scenes observations laced with cultural and specific regional or country insights and hands-on food and beverage participation experience within a festive or casual context (Hall & Mitchell, 2005). Gastro-tourism is branded, promoted, and communicated for its ability to deliver a distinctive food and beverage experience to tourists seeking unique, healthy, and traditional food and beverages, especially for middle-aged travellers in developed economies who form a significant demographic segment for gastro-tourism oriented businesses (Williams et al., 2014). The Carribean Tourism Organisation (2008), for example, reports that large parts of the Caribbean, North Africa, and India and some parts of Asia are progressively reporting a high turnout of culinary tourists through international food festivals such as the Cayman Cookout, the St Croix Food and Wine Experience, the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand, and the National Street Food Festival in India. ...
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... Not to be confused with the usual food tourism, gastro-tourism is branded as an authentic, memorable food and beverage experience that includes behindthe-scenes observations laced with cultural and specific regional or country insights and hands-on food and beverage participation experience within a festive or casual context (Hall & Mitchell, 2005). Gastro-tourism is branded, promoted, and communicated for its ability to deliver a distinctive food and beverage experience to tourists seeking unique, healthy, and traditional food and beverages, especially for middle-aged travellers in developed economies who form a significant demographic segment for gastro-tourism oriented businesses (Williams et al., 2014). The Carribean Tourism Organisation (2008), for example, reports that large parts of the Caribbean, North Africa, and India and some parts of Asia are progressively reporting a high turnout of culinary tourists through international food festivals such as the Cayman Cookout, the St Croix Food and Wine Experience, the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand, and the National Street Food Festival in India. ...
... Not to be confused with the usual food tourism, gastro-tourism is branded as an authentic, memorable food and beverage experience that includes behindthe-scenes observations laced with cultural and specific regional or country insights and hands-on food and beverage participation experience within a festive or casual context (Hall & Mitchell, 2005). Gastro-tourism is branded, promoted, and communicated for its ability to deliver a distinctive food and beverage experience to tourists seeking unique, healthy, and traditional food and beverages, especially for middle-aged travellers in developed economies who form a significant demographic segment for gastro-tourism oriented businesses (Williams et al., 2014). The Carribean Tourism Organisation (2008), for example, reports that large parts of the Caribbean, North Africa, and India and some parts of Asia are progressively reporting a high turnout of culinary tourists through international food festivals such as the Cayman Cookout, the St Croix Food and Wine Experience, the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand, and the National Street Food Festival in India. ...
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This study examined a sample of 287 gastronomy festivals organized in Turkey in 2021 in terms of tourism destination attractiveness, focusing on unprocessed agricultural food products and processed food and beverages. Based on the findings, the gastronomy festivals were grouped under 26 titles within two sub-themes, which revealed the festivals’ purpose, scope, social activities, gastronomic methods, techniques, and exemplary applications. Gastronomy festivals can provide important attraction elements for participants, such as regional and national development, social and cultural interaction, promotion of cities, collection, storage, production, and consumption of traditional food products.
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Many corporate organisations now consider a healthy lifestyle as a strategic branding tool to boost brand equity through promotional and communication tactics. This chapter explores the various factors that explain people’s propensity to maintain healthy lifestyles, regarding organic food eating, physical exercise, disease avoidance, and positive work–life balance. It also explores how corporate brands develop and communicate health and lifestyle branding. The chapter draws on various extant literature from commercial, social, and health marketing to explain the underlying motivations for a healthy lifestyle. These factors are extended to explain healthy lifestyle trends and behaviours in emerging markets. A healthy lifestyle is conceptualised as comprising three key elements: natural food consumption, health care, and life equilibrium. While the marketing literature has predominantly focused on organic food consumption, we refer to physical exercise and health care as vital considerations for understanding healthy lifestyle behaviours. Segmentation theory is utilised to guide the identification of appropriate target segments for healthy lifestyle branding. The chapter concludes with strategic recommendations on how firms may position their brands to achieve effectiveness in health and lifestyle branding.
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The author presents a conceptual model of brand equity from the perspective of the individual consumer. Customer-based brand equity is defined as the differential effect of brand knowledge on consumer response to the marketing of the brand. A brand is said to have positive (negative) customer-based brand equity when consumers react more (less) favorably to an element of the marketing mix for the brand than they do to the same marketing mix element when it is attributed to a fictitiously named or unnamed version of the product or service. Brand knowledge is conceptualized according to an associative network memory model in terms of two components, brand awareness and brand image (i.e., a set of brand associations). Customer-based brand equity occurs when the consumer is familiar with the brand and holds some favorable, strong, and unique brand associations in memory. Issues in building, measuring, and managing customer-based brand equity are discussed, as well as areas for future research.
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Festival expenditures amount to over 15 per cent of a household's annual expenditures in rural India. Yet they have never been studied by economists. This article uses both qualitative and quantitative data from a case study of three South Indian villages to show that festivals are important public goods in the village, but neither a pure entertainment motive nor an altruistic desire to contribute to a public event seems to explain their size. Households which spend money on festivals, everything else held equal, are able however, to generate tangible rewards - lower prices on food, higher social status and more invitations to meals from other families. This indicates that active participation in festivals generates private economic and social returns which help resolve a potential free-rider problem. The evidence is consistent with the notion that festivals serve as mechanisms by which communities build social networks.
Book
Hall, C.M., Sharples, E., Mitchell, R., Cambourne, B., & Macionis, N. (eds.) 2003, Food Tourism Around the World: Development, Management and Markets, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. 373pp, ISBN 0750 65466 X - reprinted 2004 - Indian edition, Heinemann-Elsevier, 2006 - Routledge edition 2012
Book
Weiler, B. & Hall, C.M. (eds.) 1992, Special Interest Tourism, Belhaven Press, London. 214pp ISBN 1 85293 072 1 (Hbk) (co-published in the Americas by Halsted Press, an imprint of John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York. ISBN 0 470 21843 6) For a copy please order from a library or purchase online