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Gastrotourism 1


Gastrotourism 1                                                                   



The other main pages in this series are Cuisine & Culture1     here   Overview Contents here
                                                        Cuisine and Culture 2
                                                        Gastrotourism 2         here
Ancillary pages here.


Flavour of the month here

Niche market? 

here  here


Finding out here

Travel agent response 16 Feb

Newspaper articles 17 Feb

Brochures page here 18 Feb

Gastrotourism in the UK newspapers here

Food tourism is as old as the hills here

Public awareness

Effects here


An actual lecture here

Fried rice syndrome here


brochures and the planet here
large or small? here
passive or active? here
the growing popularity of gastro-tourism here
questions here
sampling local cuisine here
special interest tourism here
statistics here
street-wise here
your visit to a T A here
my visit to a T A here
SWOT here
wine-bright mouse here
work groups here
VFR here

chicken & egg

England's gastro-identifier

What does etc mean?

fish & chips in Spain

% of holidays

the man in the street

odd-man out

What UK recession?

T A resources


Food tourism is more than just the flavour of the month


Gastrotourism is a growing international trend shaping our choice of holiday and while Italy and France are often thought of as the traditional European food destinations, other countries are waking up to the opportunity to spice up their own tourist trade.
One of the reasons for the growing popularity of gastro-tourism is our emotional connection with food. “Food leaves a lasting impression on our senses and gives you a real feel for a region’s culture and history. Exotic local flavours linger long in the memory,” says Eeva Blomqvist from Finfood – Finnish Food Information.

 “Local, seasonal, genuine and ‘small is beautiful’ are important themes. The culture, origins and traditions linked to food add yet another dimension to the eating experience,” says Ms Blomqvist who has studied food tourism.

As well as dining at restaurants, food tourism can often take in visits to farms and food and drink festivals, and benefit from themed package tours and trips.

 “In England you can find for example a tour focusing on tea, wine or even sausages, while in Scotland you can follow the Whisky Route,” . .   . And then there’s a lobster safari in Sweden. Finnish food tourism promotions include for instance a concept that introduces the treasures of the famous southern Archipelago.   source


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The main question emanating from statements such as those you are about to read is "Is gastrotourism a niche market?" 

The term 'special interest' tourism can be misleading, because often it is used in the context of visitor interests that in reality are of wider or major (not minor or specialist) market interest.  ...  Special interest' tourism might also suggest a category of visitors with a single, (special) interest. A rare breed. Most people (even bird watchers) will normally have many interests ... and traveling normally offers a means to enjoy several of these at a time. These simple truths are crucial to destination development.  ..  

Visitors are rarely one-dimensional in terms of their travel interests and needs ... even when commonly 'visiting a friend or relative'. By way of example, food will always be on the agenda, as will some kind of social interaction or other form of personal fun, relaxation, entertainment, sightseeing, discovery and learning.  

Regardless of why they were initially drawn to a destination - when given the opportunity and choice - visitors will more often than not combine several of these tourism experiences (whether passive or active or both) in the one trip.  By doing so they are able to gain the richest and most enjoyable experience possible and the greatest overall benefit ... including value for money.  source                                      

We need to look at newspaper/TV adverts and the Internet etc. (What does etc  mean?)


The availability and effects of Gastrotourism

Define  Gastrotourism

Recreational travel undertaken solely or primarily to experience the food and wine of a region.

Consider these numbers:

2   7   12   19    

Which is the odd-man out?   Persevere.

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Availability of Gastrotourism 

The three main aspects of this, of course, are demand and supply within the context of the prevailing economic situation.  Chicken and egg?  Fried rice?   Fish and chips? 

Why do Brits queue to eat fish and chips in Spain?    
Is this England's gastro-identifier?                                                                                            

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Finding out about availability

The man in the street has preliminary questions about the general area he is interested in such as:

When do restaurants and pubs open and close?  What should I pay in a restaurant or pub?.  He can read the newspapers, go to a travel agent or find sites like
this.  If his mouse is wine-bright, this site.  What else? 

Some of the time, our interest is what is available to the general public to find for itself.  At other times, we consider the matter from the professional viewpoint.

We are not limited to the Internet.  Buy a weekend newspaper or go to a library and look.  Look at travel books.  While out shopping, call in at travel agents.  Look at TV travel programmes and holiday adverts more closely.  You open the travel pages of a broadsheet Sunday supplement.  Note just how many holidays there are within our category.  In rough % terms, what do you think the figure is?  In-depth readers can read newspaper articles here and read brochures here.

Travel agents

You may be in the UK or anywhere. Forgive me for writing like a Dutch uncle (here not here), but we need to clear the ground. 
You walk into a travel agent and ask a question. You are regaled with "You're the fifth person today asking for info on gastrotourism!".  Wear a large student-badge!   Perhaps link your enquiry to a TV ad or newspaper article.  Clearly, thought and planning are required.  It's better to say this now rather than just one thoughtless student bringing the establishment down.  After you graduate, you realise how much you depend on good relationships.   

I went to the only T A in my small, UK West Midlands town.  We were holiday-planning in February and thoughts were on the summer.  "What have you got in the way of food and wine holidays in southern Italy?"  Much flicking through unindexed brochures by a very helpful Debbie.  Forty minutes later and, armed with a two brochures, I had encouragement and work to do.  The brochure announces cookery courses on the cover but there's no index or a website inside.  I phoned the company and waited while listening to pages being turned.  Finally, "Look at pages 67 and 22".  I needed to persevere trying to connect to the website via the saleswoman.  Go to this site and find pp 22 & 67.  User-friendly?  Contents list?  See for yourself on arrival  here.

A few days later I followed up the visit.  Debbie said that Cox & King, Page & Moy and Regent had nothing to offer.  Travel agent response 16 Feb   Perhaps more info to follow. I returned the brochures. 
I said earlier that thought and planning are required.  Add being street-wise. If you are vague with no dates and destination etc you will be found out and, perhaps, thrown out.  You will be aware of the probability within your own national context.

You could find yourself later as a mystery shopper as part of your marketing training in a company looking at SWOT.  Practise now. This isn't an academic exercise just for the sake of it. One aspect of it is that you are finding out what average citizens are looking for and what results they might find. (An aspect of the T in SWOT.)   Visit 1 and you are you.  If Visit 2 takes place, you are enquiring for your parents etc.  If you go as far as Visit 3, it's for your grandparents etc.  Vary the occupations of your subjects.   You are wearing the mocassins of whoever you are enacting.

Think like travel agent employees trying to sell you something.  Read what they read starting here
here and this.  What others exist?   Make a mental note of the weeklies etc lying on the desks.  If you get on well within the ten minutes, ask to skim through a trade magazine.  Find it on the Internet later.   

Where possible, return brochures after using them.  Be mindful of droves of students returning home with large travel brochures which may not receive more than a cursory glance in the context
hereCommunicate between yourselves if there is a serious contingent about to descend on local TAs.

It is not presumed that student readers are not well organised.  However, in some places around the world, "teaching from the front" is the standard model. Lecturers are invited to make contact regarding other ways.  Students in small groups.  One looks afer the media aspects, one looks after level 1 pages, another level 2.  One is coordinator/speaker where the speaking element is a report to the main group of students.  

Any actual lecture does not assume that that approach will be used. However, the "from the front" aspect will be minimised to aid full discussion.  

Gastrotourism in the UK newspapers

Time to go on a short-break  here.

                                                        Look for this type of resource as as starting point.

If you study Tourism within your course, gastrotourism statistics will be included. If not, please use the Contact page. 
    What UK recession?

UK Observer Magazine, 26 Feb 2012, p 33. Article on England's south -east.

Another article ibid


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"Food tourism is as old as the hills.."  

"'Tis harvest time, the traditional season of plenty, and today the time for culinary festivals. With British cuisine no longer a national joke, food tourism is booming.   ....  But in the past two decades, there's been a resurgence in demand for quality products made by time-honoured methods. The appetite is growing for regional produce, such as Somerset cider, Caerphilly cheese and Cromer crabs. Food tourism has become big business, worth nearly £4bn a year."    The hills are here.
Fact or hype in 2005?   here  Current economic situation?

Public awareness

"Gastro-tourism is a word that many of us hear nowadays, but not too many are aware of what it is.  I offer a great definition, written by Prof. Barbara Santich of Uni.Adelaide, - that makes a lot of sense to me- as someone studying gastro-tourism in New Zealand, and I hope to you as well."

"Gastronomy extends beyond what we eat and drink - the actual products - to include how we eat, where and when we eat, and most importantly why we eat the foods - in the way we do... Gastro-tourism is a means by which visitors can begin to learn about and appreciate a different culture. Food tourism suggests a focus on cuisine and restaurants ..emphasis on the products - gastro-tourism takes advantage of the wider scope of the term gastronomy, and therefore has the potential to capture a wider range of tourism activities as well as better describe the kinds of experience that travellers motivated by an interest in food and drink, eating and drinking, actually seek".

Source - 2010

The Internet is full of resources and non-resources.  Make up your mind.

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Effects of Gastrotourism

The gastrogeographical belts we looked at on the Cuisine and Culture 1 page  here, on investigation, would show where specific national cuisines are likely to be located.  The reality of Mexican cuisine being dished up in Australia by restaurateurs employing cooks from various countries includes the service of food Mexicans could rightly deplore. 

Although the headline is encouraging, you read further to see the associated problems

Gastrotourism is supposed to be a growing trend.  You read that more people are travelling abroad for holidays geared to the enjoyment of local food.

"Holidays are a time for relaxation, enjoyment and activities. Sampling the local cuisine is also a highlight for some holiday travellers. UK travellers will find numerous restaurants that cater to nearly every desire. Our guide will recommend some of the best restaurants in the world to satisfy your appetite. Read more…  "

It is an exploitable interest in other ways as seen

The legitimate exploitation of personal interests goes under the name of marketing.  Start thinking about who could be targets. 

Gourmet societies are a good start - h
ere. That society invites international visitors to the UK.  More here

Cultivate the habit of looking at your
locality.  What is there within your local universities like this

To what extent does gastrotourism lead to this type of
society?  Who exploits the situation


You are in London and hope to lure Scots, Welsh and foreign visitors to your restaurant. You know you are in a niche market and want a special graphic to adorn your website, leaflets, travel agency posters and stationery.  You achieve success! .

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An actual lecture

Our time would begin with "This is your session. You have had time to absorb the topics which interest you. Who will begin?"  After any period of awkward reticence, the matter of managers taking the inititiave will be made with the best intention. 

Earlier on the C C 1 page, there is the heading "Gastronomy or cuisine?"
 "In addressing the main heading, we need to start by looking at an example of gastronomy in a specific cuisine. The questionnaire results will determine the one we look at."
here      It would be interesting if further questionnaires arise with new targets.

  "Have you been to any travel agents?" That will be a question if within the remit by your local lecturer.   Do managers need to set
?   I suggest that you consider the matter,

This page poses this question: "Is gastrotourism a niche market?" here. We were to have considered who is asking the question. What criteria are involved in order to answer the question?   What facts can be assembled? 
There is data problem as seen on the Cuisine & Culture 1

The final aspect of preparing for the lecture by reading level 1 pages can be made after the event.  It is the matter of webpage comprehension and problems like malfunctioning links.  Please use the Contact page.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Conclusion comprised the following - the fried rice syndrome. If part of the  local lecturer remit, and when you work on your national cuisine project, you could reflect on the issues raised.   You might also consider which graphic will represent your national cuisine when you reconsider this starting from where the text says - "What are these and which countries do they represent?"

Readers might one day find themselves involved with tourism development and the promotion of gastrotourism could benefit from the gastro-map approach we saw via Culture & Cuisine 1. The fried rice syndrome

Fried rice has been talked about and it is only the shortest  representation of a syndrome.  It could be buttered snails with garlic, gazpacho, pierogi or bortsch. The border regulations of today mean more residential movement than only a decade ago.  How will the gastrotourism market change?  

The fried rice situation of a UK version of the product being accepted by an undiscerning public is only part of the effect mainly observable in the non-tourism situation.  Street-corner gastronomy reduces to popping out for a burger and coming back with beer. The provenance of fried rice is as much to do with the numbers of immigrants coming to the UK decades ago as it is to do with Brits going abroad and acquiring new tastes.  Expats working in certain countries find that the national cuisine is cooked and served by non-nationals. 


Does gastrotourism concern itself with the large company or can a chef-proprieor use its techniques? 

The second part of the question is easier to answer than proving the assertion in the first statement.  The lecture, actual or virtual,  does not set out to provide new material or answer every question raised in this series of pages.  The session is a partnership in identifying the points of interest of readers who attend. 


Readers of the in-depth variety could proceed to

Gastrotourism 2       


Cuisine and Culture 2  here   presuming "Cuisine and Culture 1" has been digested.


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Travel agent response 16 Feb  Return to context

How far you go with asking TAs to exert themselves on your hypothetical holiday behalf is both a matter for your conscience and out of my control.  My wife is keen to extend her knowledge of Italian cuisine and our enquiries were justified. The context, again, is members of the public enquiring about holidays and the way they are dealt with by professionals.  You see one response by email and if it were by post, there would not be much more.

Two TAs involved, the other in a main town - result - useless.  Here is the result of our local TA enquiry:


Thank you for allowing us to submit ideas and estimations of your holiday.
I have two options listed below for your perusal, and I have also listed some websites for more information on the cooking courses.
Kind regards
Saturday 9th June 2012
 Flight London Heathrow/Pisa                                          BA                   15:35/18:45
 Private transfer from airport to hotel
 Villa Mangicane (4* Deluxe), Tuscany – three nights’ accommodation with breakfast, staying in a classic double room
Villa Mangicane cooking class including lunch and wine tasting:
Tuesday 12th June 2012
Private transfer from the hotel to station
Train Florence/Bologna                                                  1st Class
Private transfer from station to hotel
Villa Santa Maria in Foris (3*), Ravenna – two nights’ accommodation with breakfast, staying in a double room
The Casa Artusi is taking a long time to reply but I will keep chasing them for prices and details.
Thursday 14th June 2012
Private transfer from hotel to hotel
Bologna – two nights’ accommodation with breakfast, staying in a double room
Bologna 4 hour cooking class with lunch:
Saturday 16th June 2012
Private transfer from the hotel to airport
Flight Bologna/London Heathrow                                   BA                   13:35/14:45
Per person price including economy class flights:    £2078.00 excluding Casa Artusi.
Buy it? 
Saturday 9th June 2012
Flight London Heathrow/Pisa                                          BA                   15:35/18:45
Private transfer from airport to hotel
Villa Mangicane (4* Deluxe), Tuscany – three nights’ accommodation with breakfast, staying in a classic double room
                    Villa Mangicane cooking class including lunch and wine tasting:
Tuesday 12th June 2012
Private transfer from the hotel to station
Train Florence/Bologna                                                  1st Class
Private transfer from station to hotel
Corona d’Oro (4* Superior), Bologna – five nights’ accommodation with breakfast, staying in a double room
                     Bologna 5 day hand made pasta cooking course:
Sunday 17th June 2012
Private transfer from the hotel to airport
Flight Bologna/London Heathrow                                   BA                   13:35/14:45
Per person price including economy class flights:    £2508.00


Buy?   Which option?   What questions arise?  What can you glean from here?

 Return to context


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