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Food, place and authenticity: local food and the sustainable tourism experience.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date05/2009
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Journal number3
Volume17
Number of pages16
Pages321-336
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In recent years, attempts to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of both tourism and agriculture have been linked to the development of “alternative” food networks and a renewed enthusiasm for food products that are perceived to be traditional and local. This paper draws on research from two UK regions, the Lake District and Exmoor, to argue that local food can play an important role in the sustainable tourism experience because it appeals to the visitor's desire for authenticity within the holiday experience. Using evidence from qualitative interviews with tourists and food producers, the paper records ways in which local foods are conceptualised as “authentic” products that symbolise the place and culture of the destination. By engaging with debates surrounding the meaning of locality and authenticity, the paper challenges existing understandings of these concepts and offers a new way forward for tourism research by arguing that “local food” has the potential to enhance the visitor experience by connecting consumers to the region and its perceived culture and heritage.