what is food tourism?

an introduction to food tourism

The following blog post is about the journey of Laureen Rashof in becoming a food tourism manager her own business.

an introduction to food tourism through the example of wine tourism in Cafayate
Because of the high quality and the originality of its wines, Cafayate represents an important food tourism destination for Argentina.


introduction to food tourism

The blog article provides a short introduction to food tourism. It explores the meaning of food as a destination attraction and the importance of offering food experiences. Those aspects influence to what extent the potential of food tourism is realised.

In the past, the only reason why hotels and restaurants offered food to tourists was to nurture them. However, this has changed. Nowadays, tourists specifically travel to consume food. In particular, they seek to undergo exclusive food experiences (Björk & Kauppinen-Räisänen, 2016). This phenomenon is known as food tourism (Hall, 2013). It is also familiar as cuisine, culinary, gastronomy or gourmet tourism (Qiu et al., 2013).

Food as a destination attraction

Basically, food tourism is based on agriculture, the tourism infrastructure and the culture at the destination. Those three elements build the basis to position food tourism as a destination’s attraction. Firstly, agriculture supplies the food tourism product. Second, if culture and history are added authenticity is given. Lastly, the tourism infrastructure connects all elements. In essence, food tourism consists of all food related products and services that are offered at a certain destination (Du Rand & Heath, 2006). In addition, food tourism is about the surrounding, the atmosphere, the culture and the service. Due to the conversations with other people while eating, food tourism is even recognised as a tool for building relationships (Mynttinen et al., 2015).

Food experiences

Furthermore, Hall et al. (2003) agreed that one can talk about food tourism if the tourist’s motivation to travel is caused by the will to make food related experiences. Examples are visiting food producers, food festivals, local restaurants, markets and food production areas as well as participating in cooking classes and tastings (Wolf, 2014).

On the one hand, food tourism can be defined as any experience in tourism where knowledge about the food is being shared.

On the other hand, one speaks of food tourism when the destination’s food reflects its traditional cuisine, its culture or heritage (Everett & Aitchison, 2008).

Nevertheless, food itself does not lead to an extraordinary experience. Only together with the recognised mystery, the need to break away from the daily routine, the social interaction as well as the unification between meal and experience enable an extraordinary food experience (Hanefors & Mossberg, 2003). Also, the elements of education and participation play an important role. Taking wine-tastings as an example, tourists want to learn about the production and the taste of the wine (Goolaup & Mossberg, 2017). Consequently, food tourism products or services must be entertaining and simple to experience. They need to be combined with other cultural attractions and activities in order to accomplish an utmost positive influence (Yun et al., 2011).

Realising the potential of food tourism

Clearly, food tourism started as a niche market and an alternative form of tourism. However, it developed into a main segment of the tourism industry (Ritchie & Crouch, 2003). In fact, food tourism does not only appeal to those exclusively seeking for food experiences. But it inspires other tourists to invest their budget in local food (Getz et al., 2014). Therefore, the question arises: “All tourists eat, but what do you offer them?” (Wolf, 2014, p. 310).

Contact me to make use of your destination’s food tourism potential!

Laureen Rashof, 15.03.2022


Björk, P., & Kauppinen-Räisänen, H. (2016). Exploring the multi-dimensionality of travellers’ culinary-gastronomic experiences. Current Issues in Tourism, 19(12), 1260-1280. doi:10.1080/13683500.2013.868412

Du Rand, G. E., & Heath, E. (2006). Towards a framework for food tourism as an element of destination marketing. Current Issues in Tourism, 9(3), 206-234. Retrieved from http://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/5320/DuRand_Towards%282006%29.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Everett, S., & Aitchison, C. (2008). The role of food tourism in sustaining regional identity: A case study of Cornwall, South West England. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 16(2), 150-167. doi:10.2167/jost696.0

Getz, D., Robinson, R. N. S., Andersson, T. D., Vujicic, S. (2014). Foodies and food tourism. Retrieved from https://www.goodfellowpublishers.com/free_files/Contents%20and%20copyright-3f580243069fdd5671c258f124ce19d4.pdf

Goolaup, S., & Mossberg, L. (2017). Exploring the concept of extraordinary related to food tourists’ nature-based experience. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 17(1), 27-43. doi:10.1080/15022250.2016.1218150

Hall, C. M. (2013). Wine, food, and tourism marketing. Binghampton, NY: The Haworth Hospitality Press. Retrieved from https://books.google.de/books?id=tSdGAQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Wine+food+and+tourism+marketing&hl=de&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiS7s-qjqDVAhXJWBQKHbcBDPQQ6AEIJzAA#v=onepage&q=Wine%20food%20and%20tourism%20marketing&f=false

Hall, C. M., Mitchell, R., & Sharples, L. (2003). Consuming places: The role of food, wine and tourism in regional development. In C. M. Hall, L. Sharples, R. Mitchell, N. Macionis, & B. Cambourne (Eds). Food tourism around the world: Development, management and markets (pp. 25-59). Oxford, England: Butterworth Heinemann.

Hanefors, M., & Mossberg, L. (2003). Searching for the extraordinary meal experience. Journal of Business and Management, 9(3), 249-270.

Mynttinen, S., Logrén, J., Särkkä-Tirkkonen, M., & Rautiainen, T. (2015). Perceptions of food and its locality among Russian tourists in the South Savo region of Finland. Tourism Management, 48, 455–466. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2014.12.010

Qiu, H. Z., Yuan, J., Ye, B. H., & Hung, K. (2013). Wine tourism phenomena in China: An emerging market. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 25(7), 1115-1134. doi:10.1108/IJCHM-06-2012-0087

Ritchie, J. R. B., & Crouch, G. I. (2003). The competitive destination. A sustainable tourism perspective. Wallingford: CABI.

Wolf, E. (2014). Have fork will travel. Portland, OR: World Food Travel Association.

Yun, D., Hennessey, S. M., & MacDonald, R. (2011). Proceedings from International CHRIE Conference ’11: Understanding culinary tourists: Segmentations based on past culinary experiences and attitudes toward food-related behaviour. Retrieved from http://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1769&context=refereed