The Role of Food in Tourists' Experiences
MetadataShow full item record
The preparation, marketing and consumption of food are complex social-economic processes that still require an extensive amount of original research, and this is perhaps especially true in cross-cultural contexts. To gain a clearer understanding of the role of food and cuisine in trans-cultural touristic experience, it is necessary to acknowledge multidimensional criteria rather than concentrating solely on one aspect such as food preferences or motivation. Given the scarcity of relevant research, the main purpose of the present study is to analyze food and dining vis-a-vis the phases of the cross-cultural tourist experience, the influences upon it, and its outcomes, through which a deeper insight into the roles of food in the tourist experience can be obtained. The research takes the form of a case study exploring the experiences of both Western and non-Taiwanese Asian tourists in Taiwan. An on-site survey was conducted at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport throughout the month of May 2012. A total of 633 respondents comprising 425 Asian tourists from seven countries and 208 Western tourists from ten countries completed the questionnaire. Results of this study have identified key attributes of how Asian and Western tourists perceived food while travelling in Taiwan, and challenge conventional conceptual approaches to understanding the roles of food in tourism experience, by taking into account the phased nature of touristic experience. Among other findings, Asian tourists in the sample were more likely to view food as a major motivation, and to engage more actively in food experience, than their Western counterparts. The study also upholds the hypothesis that touristic experience is multi-dimensional, insofar as it confirmed the theoretical validity of the phases of the tourist experience (pre-experience, during-experience, and post-experience) for quantitative evaluation of the roles of food and cuisine.