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Keywords:

  • tourism;
  • rural spaces;
  • food heritage;
  • tourist eater

Abstract

Tourist interest in different food cultures is a factor for local development in the fields of agro-food and crafts, whilst also contributing to the enhancement of food culture and heritage. As part of the tourist experience, eating local cuisine is a way of breaking with standardised, everyday routine by taking the tourist off into unknown culinary realms. This distancing from daily life is already possible in the home country through eating exotic food at home, or in so-called ‘ethnic’ restaurants. It takes on another dimension when travelling. This paper therefore aims to examine the role of food and eating in the tourist experience. To be more precise, we shall first attempt to assess its importance in visitors' representations, notably as a motive for travel, or in the images deployed regarding eating and drinking during their stay, as they relate to perceptions of the place visited. As well as studying tourist food perceptions, we shall also examine tourist behaviour as regards food purchase and consumption, together with behaviour relating to food souvenirs. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry