A-3/16 An Empirical Investigation of Tourists’ Consumption of Local Food in Rural Tourism: a Norwegian Case

Food's role in tourism is multifaceted and complex. Food is not only essential to the body but is also integral to the experience; moreover, it is elusively embedded within society, culture, politics, institutions, and economy. Although food's complexity is conceptually explored within tourism studies, empirical investigations into the consumption of food are few and far between. In this study, we contribute an empirical analysis that employs both quantitative and qualitative data from fieldwork in a rural Norwegian region where there have been sustained efforts to develop and integrate “local food” and rural tourism. Three research questions are investigated: to what extent is “local food” consumed by tourists? What factors affect tourists' consumption of local food? For tourists interested in local food, what purpose does the consumption of “local food” serve? We find that only a minority of rural tourism's tourists have a special interest in food. Nonetheless, for those who possess this interest, we find that local food plays an important role to their tourist experiences. Furthermore, the study suggests that local food is a means employed by parents to educate their children in the ways of “the rural idyll”. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 10.1080/15022250.2015.1066918

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