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Tourists' motivations, emotions, and memorable local food experiences

Sthapit, Erose ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1650-3900, Piramanayayagam, Senthilkumaran and Björk, Peter (2020) Tourists' motivations, emotions, and memorable local food experiences. Journal of Gastronomy and Tourism, 5 (1). pp. 17-32. ISSN 2169-2971

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This study aimed to explore tourists' general local food preferences, whether tasting local food was one of their major motivations for undertaking a recent trip, the emotions they associated with the experience, and what constituted a memorable local food experience. Data were collected using an open-ended questionnaire. Based on the survey responses of 210 tourists, almost all the respondents were Indian nationals. The majority of the respondents could be categorized as food neophiliacs, since they exhibited a tendency to seek new food tastes while traveling. For more than half the respondents, tasting local food was one of the main motivations for taking particular trips and was considered a primary activity. Experiencing novelty and local culture were the main motivations for tasting local food. In connecting local food consumption memories with emotions, respondents experienced the positive emotions of joy and love. This article proposes a new conceptual framework for memorable local food experiences, which comprises several components: taste, socializing with friends and family members, novelty, authenticity, ambience, affordable price, and interacting with locals. The findings provided little evidence of special occasions, hospitality, or food souvenirs contributing to a memorable food experience, as claimed by previous studies, suggesting that such factors are not inevitable components of all tourist food experiences.

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