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Culinary Tourism and Regional Development: From Slow Food to Slow Tourism?

Address correspondence to Professor C. Michael Hall, Department of Tourism, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand. Tel: +64-3-479-8520, Fax: +64-3-479-9034; E-mail: cmhall@business.otago.ac.nz

C. Michael Hall
C. Michael Hall is Professor and Head of the Department of Tourism at the University of Otago; Docent, Department of Geography, University of Oulu, Finland and a Visiting Professor, School of Service Management, Lind University Helsingborg, Sweden.

Coeditor of Current Issues in Tourism he has published widely on tourism, mobility, governance and environmental history with a special interest in the consumption and production of food and wine, particularly heirloom plant and animal varieties and local foods, and their relevance for rural and peripheral regional development.

Culinary tourism, also referred to as gastronomic or wine and food tourism,


Culinary tourism, also referred to as gastronomic or wine and food tourism, is a niche area of tourism studies that has grown rapidly in recent years in terms of tourism research and education. What is perhaps most surprising with the substantial number of theses, books and articles that have now been produced in the area is not so much the amount that has been produced but that, given the centrality of food as a part of the tourism experience, it has taken so long to emerge as an area of scholarship. Undoubtedly several reasons lie behind the development of academic interest in culinary tourism including the development of studies of various dimensions of everyday and popular culture . However, also of great significance is recognition of the role of tourism as a response to economic restructuring in rural areas and as a means of regional development.

Slow food and Slow Tpourism.... Any difference?

If Slow Food can develop as a movement then why not 'Slow Tourism?' On the surface this may look extremely attractive: stay in a place longer and get to know the area much more thoroughly as a visitor that deliberately seeks to buy local thereby ensuring that money stays within the destination economy longer. However, the Slow Food movement is also concerned with the distance that food takes to travel in many cases from producers to consumers when such foods could also have been produced locally. In these cases it may be ethically appropriate to both produce and purchase local.

The growth in culinary tourism clearly has the potential to contribute towards regional development. But the assessment of its benefits and costs are greatly determined by place and location and by the factors that are used to measure development success. The contributions to this special issue primarily highlight themes and issues that emerge at the destination scale, with respect to longer-term purchase and bio security issues. The challenge for future research on tourism and regional development relationships is therefore to look at the potential implications of culinary tourism and other forms of tourism at different temporal and spatial scales in order to better assess the effects of tourism not only for the destination but also for the route along which tourists travel and the generating regions they come from.

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Bell, D., & Valentine, G. (1997). Consuming geographies: We are where we eat. London: Routledge. Bessire, J. (1998). Local development and heritage: Traditional food and cuisine as tourist attraction in rural Areas. Sociologia Ruralis, 35(1), 21-33. Gossling, S., & Hall, C.M. (eds) (2006) Tourism and global environmental change, Routledge, London. Hall, C.M. (2003). Biosecurity and wine tourism: Is a vineyard a farm? Journal of Wine Research, 14(2-3), 121-126. Hall, C.M. (2005). Tourism: Rethinking the social science of mobility, Harlow: Prentice-Hall. Hall, C.M., & Mitchell, R. (2000). Wine tourism in the Mediterranean: A tool for restructuring and development. ThunderbirdInternational Business Review, 42(4), 445465. Hall, C.M., & Mitchell, R. (2005a). Food tourism. In M. Novelli (Ed.), Niche Tourism: Contemporary issues, trends and cases (pp.73-88). Oxford: Butterworth Heinemann. Hall, C.M., & Mitchell, R. (2005b). Gastronomy, food and wine tourism. In D. Buhalis & C. Costa (Eds), Tourism business frontiers: Consumers, products and industry (pp.137147). Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann. Hall, C.M., Mitchell, R., & Sharples, E. (2003). Consuming places: the role of food, wine and tourism in regional development. In C.M. Hall, E. Sharples, R. Mitchell, B.Cambourne, & N. Macionis (Eds), Food tourism around the world: Development, management and markets (pp.25-59), Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

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