Gastronomy is becoming an important element of diversification and a tool for defin-ing the brand and the image of a region

Gastronomy is becoming an important element of diversification and a tool for defin-ing the brand and the image of a region, a country and a culture (Hjalager, 2010). In recent years, tourism has started to recognize the important power of attraction and communica-tion of food products, to the point of turning them into true tourist attractions (Folgado et al, 2011; Kivela and Crotts, 2006). The peculiarities of the local cuisine are the starting point to create routes, travel packages and thematic proposals that put local food and prod-ucts at the centre of the development strategies and the promotion of certain territories or destinations.
Food is considered as an element of local culture and as an expression of the history, habits and traditions of a community or a geographical area (Kivela and Crotts, 2006; Lee and Crompton, 1992)
Culture determines and shapes the culinary history of a community and, through it, expresses itself and becomes a tangible, sensory and pleasant asset. Thus, traditional dishes and local food turn into new tourist products and motivational elements of a trip.
Those tourists, who travel with a strong interest towards the culinary heritage of the destinations they visit, are called «foodies» by the scientific literature.
To that tourist category, local products are the expression of the identity of places and they play a cultural function, more than only a nutritional one.
From a theoretical point of view, scientific literature embraces the gastronomy tourism phenomenon within the consolidated tourist typologies of rural and cultural tourism (Mil-lán and Agudo, 2010).
Regarding the first, several authors (Andreu and Verdú,2012; Armas, 2008; Sidali et al,2013) investigated the phenomenon of food tourism and the recent attention given to food typicality by tourists, from its complementarity with rural activities.

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