Article

Characteristics and Practices of Gastro-tourists: Application for a 6+ Gastro-cluster Destination Development Model

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Abstract

This research focuses on the characteristics and practices of self-identified gastro-tourists—travelers who plan excursions entirely or partially to experience other cultures through intense experiential gastronomic activities. This is the first empirical study that examines differences between ideal and actual gastro-tourist practices that include: number of activities in a given trip, travel distance between activities, spending practices across deliberate or incidental status, and identification with a culture. The study reports that overall travel and spending practices of gastro-tourists across generations (Baby Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials) are more alike than different. The study also identifies attributes and strategies that can be used to match the ideal desires and expectations of both deliberate and incidental gastro-tourists and found that 40% of tourists' most memorable gastro-experiences began as incidental. The study concludes by proposing a 6+ Gastro-cluster Destination Development Model that decision makers or planners in the tourism and/or hospitality industries could consider as they create or expand local gastro-tourism initiatives.

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... Issues of tourism and local food specialities served in a destination remain under-researched (Björk & Kauppinen-Räisänen, 2016). Although serving food linked to a specific location and its culture and heritage is related to perceptions of authenticity of the tourism experience (Melewar & Skinner, in press a), there is only limited research into concepts of authenticity as perceived by mainstream as opposed to gastro-tourists (Williams, Yuan, & Williams, 2018). Moreover, there remains a gap in knowledge when considering the elements of the servicescape that contribute to perceptions of authenticity and how this affects consumer decision-making (Meng & Choi, 2017). ...
... When considering definitions of food tourism, Hall, Sharples, Mitchell, Macionis, and Cambourne (2003, p. 9) focus on "those tourists whose activities, behaviours and, even, destination selection is influenced by an interest in food". While some destinations attract "gastro-tourists" (Williams et al., 2018), or "food tourists" (Hall et al., 2003) travellers whose primary motivation is to experience specific and unique local foods, other travellers may not be swayed so much by this factor when it comes to destination choice (Okumus, Kock, Scantlebury, & Okumus, 2013), but local food and food experiences may still be ". . . an essential part of their holidays" (Björk & Kauppinen-Räisänen, 2016, p. 178). ...
... Despite growing interest in these issues, there remains an under-researched area regarding tourism and the local food that is served in a particular destination, and that destination's food specialities (Björk & Kauppinen-Räisänen, 2016). This links the issue of food and tourism to the notion of authenticity, where authenticity is seen to relate to a destination's unique culture, heritage and traditions (Melewar & Skinner, in press a), a factor highly valued by gastro-tourists (Williams et al., 2018). Yet limited research exists into the concept of authenticity and food experiences regarding mainstream tourists, despite claims that tourists in general seek more authentic experiences while on vacation, with consumers "using products and experiences to reconnect to places, history, culture, and one another" (Eades, Arbogast, & Kozlowski, 2017, p. 57). ...
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... Esthetics value comes from educating the mind that includes not only personal development but also an element of social change (Webster & Rennie, 2011). Esthetics experience means entering into an emotional environment (Thanh & Kirova, 2018), and the gastronomic products can offer esthetic personal differences, foodie tourists value meeting and getting to know different people through shared dining experiences (Williams et al., 2018). Bell (2014), in her study on cooking courses in Bali, evaluated the impacts of cooking courses where local small-scale entrepreneurs do their best to generate some income from tourists visiting the region. ...
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... In this context, the cooking courses that are organized in destinations can also offer interesting gastronomic experiences as well as attract both deliberate and incidental gastrotourists. Especially the six plus gastronomic experiences noted in the study of Williams et al. (2018) can be offered to tourists only within cooking courses. The content of a thoroughly planned cooking course is quite rich. ...
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Thesis
Η αναζήτηση τουριστικών εμπειριών αποτελεί ίσως ένα από τα ισχυρότερα τουριστικά κίνητρα σήμερα. Η «Οικονομία της Εμπειρίας» των Pine and Gilmore επηρέασε σημαντικά όλους τους οικονομικούς κλάδους συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του τουρισμού. Σήμερα πολλές τουριστικές επιχειρήσεις έχουν στραφεί στο σχεδιασμό και προσφορά εμπειριών με σκοπό την διαφοροποίηση των υπηρεσιών με στόχο την βιώσιμη ανάπτυξή τους. Η παρούσα έρευνα αποτελεί την πρώτη προσπάθεια διερεύνησης των παραγόντων εκείνων που επηρεάζουν την εμπειρία και την ικανοποίηση των τουριστών που συμμετέχουν σε βιωματικές δραστηριότητες αλλά και την μεταβληθείσα τουριστική εικόνα για την περιφέρεια της Θεσσαλίας. Τα αποτελέσματα από τα 262 ερωτηματολόγια που συγκεντρώθηκαν έδειξαν πως την εμπειρία των τουριστών επηρεάζουν έξι παράγοντες (i) η Αισθητική του Περιβάλλοντος, (ii) τα Συναισθήματα των Τουριστών, (iii) η Ενεργός Συμμετοχή των Τουριστών, (iv) η Αλληλεπίδραση μεταξύ Τουριστών – Παρόχου (v) η Οικονομική Αξία και (vi) η Αυθεντικότητα της δραστηριότητας. Επιπλέον, επιβεβαιώθηκε η άμεση επίδραση της τουριστικής εμπειρίας στην ικανοποίηση των τουριστών και η άμεση επίδραση της ικανοποίηση των τουριστών στην μεταβληθείσα τουριστική εικόνα του τόπου. Σημαντικότερο εύρημα της έρευνας αποτέλεσε η επιβεβαίωση της έμμεσης σχέσης της τουριστικής εμπειρίας με την μεταβληθείσα εικόνα του τόπου και του πλήρους μεσολαβητικού ρόλου της ικανοποίησης των τουριστών σε αυτή.
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