Characteristics of Traditional Food - the Viewpoint of the Tourism Business
The growing popularity of alternative forms of tourism and the increasing importance of unique characteristics and special atmosphere has drawn the attention to traditional foods. The latter have been studied in terms of nutrition qualities, potential for achieving sustainable development and benefits for local communities; customer perceptions have also been in the spotlight. There has been, however no evidence yet of how the tourism businesses perceive traditional foods and of the most important aspects of this specific product. The purpose of this study is to assess the perception of traditional food and the importance they lay on its main characteristics. Location of the study: The study was conducted among 34 hotel and restaurant managers in South western Bulgaria using an on-line questionnaire sent to a total number of 120 hotels with restaurants at this location. Results and implication: The most important characteristics of "traditional food" perceived by respondents are popularity within a certain region, authentic way of cooking, relatively long and real history of consumption and production. Persistent high quality, safety, healthiness and good taste are the qualities that restaurateurs are trying to provide. There is also evidence of tourism businesses not been aware of the importance of using ecologically clean local produce. Conclusion: Despite the small scale of this study on traditional foods and the way they are perceived by managers in tourism, results are informative and relevant to those in many European countries and could be used for implementation in the tourist business.(author's abstract)
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