Food Tourism: Opportunity for Sustainable Development of Rural Areas in Iran

Document Type : Research Paper



Extended Abstract
Rural Tourism has substantially developed in the world in the past few decades and has regularly been added to the scope of its diversity. Food Tourism is a subset of rural tourism which is considered by planners and policy-makers in the some countries with respect to the function and its benefits. Over the past decade, increasing competition among tourism destinations has led to growth remarkable in tourism attractions in order to attract tourists and their satisfaction. Nowadays, food tourism has been recognized as one of the main tools for rural and regional development of in many countries. Food tourism plays a prominent part in the economic development strategies of many developing countries .Although there are a variety of local and traditional foods in the Iran, but the food tourism has not yet been considered by tourism custodians. While the growth and development of food tourism can play an effective role in sustainable development of rural communities in Iran.

This paper discussed some of the literature and experiences in this field with a descriptive method and the data were collected by documentary method. In this study, various aspects of the food tourism and its functions have been investigated in order to introduce and expand some topics related to food tourism in Iran.
Food and tourism have a very close relationship and food is a critical tourism resource. Local foods are widely recognized as an essential part of tourism experience. The main reasons for the formation of food tourism mainly includes influence of urbanization, agriculture`s emergence, globalization or localization, interests for food, eating experience and cultural differences among tourism consumers around the world. Investigations on food tourism indicate that this sector of the tourism industry has a wide range of functions in various aspects. Numerous studies have demonstrated that food tourism can play a significant role in balanced sustainable development.

Food tourism can play an effective role in economic, socio-cultural and environmental development as well as the development of tourism destinations (see table1). Food tourism is cconsidered as an engine for economic growth in rural areas.
Table 1: functions of food tourism
Economic Social - cultural Environmental
-Improving and commercialization of agriculture products
- Capitalize on local assets
- Creating employment for rural youth and women youth
- Increasing income and reducing poverty
- Contributing to the development of organic agriculture
-The creation of economic opportunities through attracting tourists
-The creation of markets for agricultural products and Food stuffs
-Creating a brand for tourism destinations
-Creating new value-added food products
- Support for local investment enterprises, mostly farmers and small producers
-Helping to security of business in the future
- Increasing in turnover of regions
-Formation of clusters food and cooking -Conservation of traditional foods
-Strengthening of local identity and culture
-Creating and strengthening local identity
-Improving quality of life
- Creating a sense of local pride
-Help to identify agricultural products in different regions and countries
-Helping to educate consumers about agriculture and rural heritage
-Establishment of cultural interaction among nations.
- Entertainment
- More communication between producers and consumers
-Empowerment of community , especially women
-Helping to improve community health through healthy food
- Strengthening of indigenous knowledge
- Increasing local participation -Conservation of biodiversity (plant and animal)
- Creating incentives for conservation of natural resources
- Reduction of waste products
-More control and conservation of natural resources

There are a lot of capabilities order to growth and development of food tourism in Iran. An initial investigation indicates that there are approximately 2,500 local food and drink throughout the country. Despite the variety of food, Food tourism capacity is neglected in Iran. Research indicates that there are issues and challenges in order to development of food tourism in the country include:
-Lack of serious attention to the issue of food tourism;
- Lack of sufficient public awareness and understanding about this sector of the tourism industry;
- Lack of necessary infrastructure at the local and regional levels;
- Lack of necessary skills for presenting food tourism services;
- Lack of effective tourism strategies at the local, regional and national;
- Lack of the necessary mechanisms for guarantee of food quality;
- Lack of necessary research in this field.
Results and Discussion
Numerous studies have demonstrated that food tourism can play a significant role in balanced sustainable development. The findings show that food tourism has great potential and actual capabilities and can play an important role in rural and regional development and also leads to economic boom and creating a unique identity for the local communities. It seems that the boom in tourism and food tourism, especially in rural areas, can be somewhat effective in solving some of the problems in rural communities such as unemployment, poverty, migration and low productivity. Therefore, tourism planners, custodians and stakeholders should focus their efforts to appropriate organization of the tourism industry, meeting the needs of customers, strengthen local economies and creating a true and accurate framework for management of local and regional food stuffs.


Main Subjects

Alamanos Eleftherios, Kuznesof Sharron & Ritson Christopher, 2014, The Influence of Holidays on Wine Purchasing Behaviour: Marketing and Tourism Insights Based on a Holiday Experience in Greece, International Journal of Tourism Research, published online: 24 FEB.
Aslimoski Pere & Gerasimoski Sase, 2012, Food and Nutrition as Tourist Phenomenon, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 44, PP. 357 – 362.
Azman Ashley Marie, 2012, Food Tourism in Special Events and Festivals in Appalachian Ohio, Master thesis, Ohio University.
Bertella Giovanna, 2011, Knowledge in food tourism: The Case of Lofoten and Maremma Toscana, Current Issues in Tourism, Volume 14, Issue 4.
Bessiere Jacinthe & Tibere Laurence, 2013, Traditional Food and Tourism: French Tourist Experience and Food Heritage in Rural Spaces, J Sci Food Agric; 93: PP. 3420–3425.
Birtwistle Moira, Thomson Matthew, Symonds Marion, Fraser, Stuart & Martin Vicky, 2013, Exploring Neutral Tastes of Island, Case Study: Food Provenance Contributing to Sense of Place.
Buiatti Stefano, 2011, Food and Tourism: the role of the “Slow Food” association, Food, Agri-Culture and Tourism (book), editors: Katia Laura Sidali ksidali, Achim Spiller a.spiller & Birgit Schulze bschulze, Springer Vienna, PP. 92-101.
Che Deborah, Wright Rose & Rae Robyn, 2012, Food Tourism and Branding Tropical North Queensland, In Proceedings of the 2012 Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) International Meeting. Virginia Beach: Travel and Tourism Research Association.
Dimitrov, N. & Petrevska, B., 2012, Rural Tourism Development Zones: The Case of Macedonia, Researches Review of the Department of Geography, tourism and hotel management, 41, PP. 152-162.
Dougherty Michael L., Brown Laura E. & Green Gary Paul, 2013, The Social Architectur of Local Food Tourism: Challenges and Opportunitis for Community Economic Development, Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 28(2), PP. 1–27.
Ecker, S, Clarke, R, Cartwright, S, Kancans, R, Please, P and Binks, B., 2010, Drivers of Regional Agritourism and Food Tourism in Australia, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics – Bureau of Rural Sciences.
Ergul Mehmet, Johnson Colin, Cetinkaya Ali Sukru, Robertson Jale Boga, 2011, An Exploratory Study Linking Turkish Regional Food with Cultural Destinations, Academica Turistica, Year 4, No. 2, PP. 101-109.
Gheorghe Georgică, Tudorache Petronela & Nistoreanu Puiu, 2014, Gastronomic Tourism, a New Terend for Contemporary Tourism?, Cactus Tourism Journal, Vol. 9, Issue 1, PP. 12-21.
Giampiccoli Andrea and Kalis Janet Hayward, 2012, Tourism, Food, and Culture: Community-Based Tourism, Local Food, and Community Development in Mpondoland, Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment, the Journal of Culture, Agriculture, Vol. 34, Issue 2, PP. 101–123.
Gómez Mar, Molina Arturo & Esteban Águeda, 2013, What Are the Main Factors Attracting Visitors to Wineries? A PLS Multi-group Comparison, Qual Quant, 47, PP. 2637–2657.
Grbac Bruno & Milohanovic Ana, 2008, Contribution of Food Products in Creating Cultural Identity of Tourist Destination, WSEAS International Conference on Cultural Heritage and Tourism (CUHT'08), Heraklion, Crete Island, Greece, July 22-24, PP. 83-88.
Halkier, H., 2012, Local Food for International Tourists: Explorative Studies of Perceptions of Networking and Interactions in two Holiday Home Destinations in North Jutland, Denmark. Institut for Kultur og Globale Studier, Aalborg Universitet.
Horng Jeou-Shyan & Tsai Chen-Tsang (Simon), 2012, Culinary Tourism Strategic Development: an Asia-Pacific Perspective, International Journal of Tourism Reserch, 14, 40–55.
Hreinsdóttir Steingerður, 2013, The Relationship between Food and Tourism Local Perspectives, Katla Geopark.
Jensen Jørgen D. & Mørkbak Morten R., 2103, Role of Gastronomic, Externality and Feasibility Attributes in Consumer Demand for Organic and Local Foods: The Case of Honey and Apples, International Journal of Consumer Studies, 37, PP. 634–641.
Karim Shahrim Ab, 2006, Culinary Tourism as a Destination Attraction: An Empirical Examination of Destinations' Food Image and Information Sources, Ph.D. Thesis, Oklahoma State University.
Ketenci, N., 2010, Co-integration Analysis of Tourism Demand for Turkey, Applied Econometrics and International Development, Vol. 10 (1), PP. 91-114.
Kock Marcelino Gerald, 2013, The Development of an Eco-Gastronomic Tourism (EGT) Supply Chain– Aanlyzing Linkages Between Farmers, Restaurants and Tourists in Aruba, PhD Thesis, University of Central Florida.
Lan Lawrence W., Wu Wei-Wen, Lee Yu-Ting, 2012, Promoting Food Tourism with Kansei Cuisine Design, Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 40, PP. 609-615.
Lee Anne H.J., 2012, The Creative Food Economy and Culinary Tourism through Place Branding: ‘TERROIR’ into a Creative and Environmentally Friendly Taste of a Place, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Waterloo, Canada.
Lee Insun & Arcodia Charles, 2011, The Role of Regional Food Festivals for Destination Branding, International Journal of Tourism Reserch, 13, PP. 355-367.
Lin Yi-Chin, Pearson Thomas E. & Cai Liping A., 2011, Food as a Form of Destination Identity: A Tourism Destination Brand Perspective, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 11, PP. 30-48.
Londoño Maria del Pilar Leal, 2011, Gastronomy Tourism: An Opportunity for Local Ddevelopment in Catolonia? A Stakeholder Analaysis.
Long Lucy M., 2013, Culinary Tourism, Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics, Springer Science-Business Media Dordrecht.
Lopez Xose A. Armesto & Martin Belen Gomez, 2006, Tourism and Quality Agro-Food Products: An Opportunity for the Spanish Countryside, Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Vol. 97, No. 2, PP. 166-177.
Mak Athena H.N., Lumbers Margaret & Eves Anita, 2012, Globalisation and Food Consumption in Tourism, Annals of Tourism Research, Volume 39, Issue 1, PP. 171-196.
Martin Andrew, Fraser James, Evans Phil, Huxley Ruth, Storrie Gillian & Sanderson Garry, 2013, Exploring Neutral Tastes of Island, Case Study: Using Local Food to Create Marketing Advantages.
Matlovičová Kvetoslava & Pompura Michal, 2013, The Culinary Tourism in Slovakia Case Study of the Traditional Local Sheep's Milk Products in the Regions of Orava and Liptov, GeoJournal of Tourism and Geosites, Year VI, No. 2, Vol. 12, PP. 129-144.
May Grace & Mazza Ann Chang, 2013, Gastronimic Tourism: Implications for Singapore, University of Pennsylvania.
Murray Iain, Haraldsdóttirv Laufey, 2004, Developing a Rural Culinary Tourism Product: Considerations and Resources for Success.
Ngoc Anh Vu, 2013, Promotion of Food Tourism on Websites of Tourist Offices: Cross-content Analyses of Helsinki, Copenhagen, and Lyon, Bachelor's Thesis Degree Programme in Tourism, HAGGA-HELIA, University of Applied Science.
Okech Roselyne N., 2014, Developing Culinary Tourism: The Role of Food as a Cultural Heritage in Kenya, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Global Business, Economics, Finance and Social Sciences (GB14 Chennai Conference), Chennai, India 11-13 July 2014 Paper ID: CF412.
Reza Alberto, 2014, The Role of Local Food in the Touristic Experience A Focus on Visit Tampere All Bright! Marketing Program, Bachelor's thesis, Degree Programme International Business, Tampereen ammattikorkeakoulu, Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
Schlüter, Regina G., 2011, Anthropological Roots of Rural Development: a Culinary Tourism, Case Study in Argentina, Journal Tourismos, Vol. 6, No. 3, PP. 77-91.
Singsomboon Termsak, 2014, Marketing Strategies for Thai Gastronomic Tourism Promotion, Graduate School of Tourism Management, National Institute of Development Administration.
Steinmetz, Rose, 2010, Food, Tourism and Destination Differentiation: The Case of Rotorua, New Zealand, Mphil Thesis, Auckland University.
Surenkok Aysegul, Baggio Rodolfo & Corigliano Magda Antonioli, 2010, Gastronomy and Tourism in Turkey: The Role of ICTs, Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism, Proceedings of the International Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, February 10–12, 2010, PP. 567-578.
Sørensen Zina, 2013, Exploring Wine Tourism in Bulgaria A pathway to Sustainable Rural and Tourism Development?, The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Master thesis, Lund University.
Tikkanen Irma, 2007, Maslow’s Hierarchy and Food Tourism in Finland: Five Cases, British Food Journal, Vol. 109, No. 9, PP. 721-734.
Vázquez de la Torre Genoveva Millán, Morales Fernández Emilio, Pérez Naranjo Leonor M., 2104, Gastronomic Tourism, Protected Designations of Origin and Rural Development in Andalusia: Present Sittution, Boletín de la Asociación de Geógrafos Españoles, No. 65, PP. 437-439.
Velissariou Efstathios & Mpara Eleni, 2014, Local Products and Tourism Gastronomy in Rural Areas Evidence from Greece, 9th Annual MIBES International Conference 30th of May - 1st of June 2014 - Perrotis College, American Farm School Thessaloniki, Greece, PP. 253-265.
Wittman Hannah, Beckie Mary & Hergesheimer Chri, 2102, Linking Local Food Systems and the Social Economy? Future Roles for Farmers’ Markets in Alberta and British Columbia, Rural Sociology, 77(1), PP. 36-61.
Yurtseven H. Ridvan, 2011, Sustainable Gastronomic Tourism in Gokceada (Imbros): Local and Authentic Perspectives, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Vol. 1 No. 18 [Special Issue], PP. 17-26.
Yurtseven H. Ridvan & Karakas Necati, 2013, Creating a Sustainable Gastronomic Destination: The Case of Cittaslow Gokceada-Turkey, American International Journal of Contemporary Research, Vol. 3, No. 3, PP. 91-100.