OECD report on food and tourism experiences

IGCAT’s Director, Diane Dodd recently completed editing a volume of collected papers on food and tourism experiences for the OECD. The volume looks that the ways in which food and gastronomy are becoming more closely linked with tourism, and how regions throughout the world are using food as a means of introducing their culture and creativity to others. Contributors to the volume include Greg Richards (IGCAT’s President) and Michael Hall and the geographic coverage of the contributions extends from Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Austria, the Nordic countries) to Asia (Korea and Japan) and Latin America.

The volume reveals that tourists are increasingly seeking local, authentic and novel food experiences linked to the places they visit.  Foods can become distinctive elements of the brand image of places and help to create distinctiveness.  However,  as food becomes ever more globalised the authenticity of experiences is threatened. The book presents examples of strategies that can increase tourist knowledge of a country’s culinary offerings, such as collaborations between different stakeholders in “foodscapes” which unite local culture, creativity and food. The important linkages between novelty, authenticity and locality in food experiences mean that small-scale food production is not an artifact of the past; it arguably represents a route to the future.