Intellectual Relevance of Food Tourism: Intangible Aspects of Taste and Travel

  January 13, 2021   Read time 1 min
Intellectual Relevance of Food Tourism: Intangible Aspects of Taste and Travel
Food represents particular traditions that define the identity of a specific region. In this sense, every region has a series of characteristics that are idiosyncratic and allow the region to have its own identity among the varied identities that constitute the global scene. Here food as an essential element of tourism finds an intellectual aspect.

There is a gradual recognition of the intellectual property dimensions of food and tourism. This can take place at the level of individual types of food product but it is also increasingly being applied to regional characteristics. Food and tourism are all products which are differentiated on the basis of regional identity. For example, grape syrup is often identified by its geographical origin, e.g. Burgundy, Champagne, Rioja, which, in many cases, have been formalized through a series of appellation controls, in turn founded on certain geographical characteristics of a place. Foods, for example cheese, are also identified by their place of origin. Similarly, tourism is also promoted by the attraction of regional or local destinations. It should therefore be of little surprise that the relationship between wine, food and tourism is extremely significant at a regional level through the contribution that regionality provides for product branding, place promotion and, through these mechanisms, economic development. It has been suggested that tourism is fundamentally about the difference of ‘place’. Clearly a region’s physical elements combine to define it as a ‘place’ and contribute to the attractiveness of a destination. Similarly, some other scholars identify the importance of place as a means of differentiation: ‘These geographical knowledges – based in the cultural meanings of places and spaces – are then deployed in order to “re-enchant” [food] commodities and to differentiate them from the derived functionality and homogeneity of standardized products and places.’ Perhaps not surprisingly then, it is also suggested that there is a significant overlap between the elements of terroir and those features that are important to regional tourism branding (e.g. landscape and climate). A number of scholars discuss the idea of ‘touristic terroir’, arguing that ‘In the same way that the terroir of a region gives food its distinctive regional characteristics, the unique combination of the physical, cultural and natural environment gives each region its distinctive touristic appeal – its touristic terroir’.

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