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Gastronomy as Tourism Product:



Table of Contents


3Gastronomy and Tourism

5Gastronomy as a tourism product in Melbourne

5Wholesale market excursion: Melbourne Markets

6Boroondara Farmers’ MarketFarmer’s market:

6Analysis of Melbourne Markets and Boroondara Farmers’ Market

7First-order activities at the sites

7Second order activities at the sites

8Third-order activities at the sites

8Fourth-order activities at the sites




Traditionally, tourism has largely been driven by the sense of sight without regard for other four senses – the sense of hearing, touch, smell and taste. As a result, tourists have been mere observers of spectacular sceneries, arts, and architecture. As a result, tourists have customarily been forced to exercise strong sensual bias against the other senses (Londoño 2010). Recently however, tourists have started to nourish the remaining four senses through gastronomic tourism.

The evidence of the basic structure of gastronomic tourism spins around the local cultures and the occurence of foreign foods (Halkier 2012). The two have lent credence to the cultural capital theory, which seeks to explain why divergent patterns of consumption exist in the society. The theory considers the physical need to eat as a cultural practice. It also treats food as a cultural product through which certain people may preserve their symbolic distance. Relative to the tourism industry, the theory is manifested in the distinct sense of taste and search and enjoyment of obscure local cuisines that depict cultural heritage (Shenoy 2005).

Hence, the cultural capital theory is proposed as a rationalisation of the emergence of gastronomy tourism and tourist. Two sites in Melbourne, Melbourne Markets and Boroondara Farmers’ Market, are explored in this regards to discuss the means by which gastronomy can be understood as a tourism product and how these have contribute to the understanding of gastronomy.

Gastronomy and Tourism

The correlation between tourism destination and product is, by nature, symbiotic as the destination supplies the recipes, food and most importantly the cultural background that make its gastronomy an idyllic product for tourism consumption. Therefore, gastronomy consists of the convergence of food processing, production, transportation, storage, preparation and cooking.

Classically, gastronomy refers to the art of preparation, selection, service, and appreciation of fine cuisine. Gastronomy forms the basis of gastronomic tourism, a concept that expresses the idea of tourists taking delight in exploring a new culture through food. Simply put, it is the art of travelling for purposes of exploring a new culture expressed through the host country’s food (Dongkoo et al. 2011).

According to Mak et al. (2012), gastronomy has cultural value and is cited as an expression of the cultural and social capital of a place. Food forms an integral part of local life, culture, history, economy and the society of a given area. Mak et al (2012), cited gastronomy as being part of the local culture that a tourists is to experience or is exposed to as a component of promotion of tourism, as a means of promoting local development and as a factor that influences the patterns of consumption and the local economy.

Gastronomy interacts with tourism in four divergent ways, First, as an attraction that a tourism destination can use in promoting itself, next as a component of the tourism product that can be used to establish food routes. Third, because of the existence of places in which the cuisine e offer has obtained some level of recognition or become popular, and lastly as an element of the local culture where the food is maintained by a range of food festivals (Stefan & Hall 2013).

Gastronomy is considered as a tourism product. This is based on a description provided by Mak et al (2012), who defined tourism product as consisting of a set of components that create the tourist offer of destination. Gastronomy, therefore, comprises the tourism resources exploited and adjusted to conform to the tourist consumption and functions based on how they are marketed and presented.

Gastronomy as a tourism product in Melbourne

As a tourism product, food is ideal for the diversification of Melbourne as a tourism destination since it increases the number of visitors. It also leverages the destination’s competitive advantage. Londono (2010)
explains the idea of product as comprising an experience, where the service providers and the tourist destination act in response to the challenges of creating products basing on the experiences. The experiences may be memorable or personal. Additionally, they may trigger emotional response, where the tourist comes into a multi-faceted relationship with the destination that brings in the experience and the actors (López-Guzmán & Sánchez-Cañizares 2011). The products of gastronomic tourism in Melbourne are passed to the tourism consumers using a range of distribution channels, including Melbourne Markets and Boroondara Farmers’ Market.

Wholesale market excursion: Melbourne Markets

Melbourne Markets is a Melbourne-based wholesale market for fresh vegetable, fruits and flowers. The market offers visitors an opportunity to explore and experience the exquisite sights, sounds and smells of wholesale markets through the “C the Market” tours service – using an electric tourist train that travels around the Fruit & Vegetable Market. A walk through the Flower Market also facilitates a close-up view of the vibrant displays of fresh flowers.

The C the Market offers specialised excursions that provide travellers through an inside view of Melbourne’s major fresh produce wholesale distribution centre. The wholesale market is closed to the public and is only accessible through the tours or invitation by the traders.

Visitors are given a chance to learn about the fresh Australian produce in the early morning, for two hours from 6.00am. The tours are also tailored to fit industry groups, including apprentices, chefs and growers, or prospective customers including growers, restaurants and greengrocers. However, the Vegetable Market, Flower Market, and the Wholesale Fruit Market are often closed to the public.

Melbourne’s core brand attribute as being Australia’s exceptional home food produce and the enterprising tradition of innovation and creativity as well as a beautiful city and festival spirit. The tourists in Melbourne can visit the whole sale food market, which provides insight into why Melbourne is a great culinary capital in Australia, as well as why the onsite cafes at the site produce assorted Australian cuisine.

Farmer’s market: Boroondara Farmers’ Market

The Boroondara Farmers’ Market takes place every third and fifth Saturday of the month at Patterson Reserve, Auburn Rd., Hawthorn East, Victoria (Boroondara 2014). At the site, farmers display and sell farm produced from around Victoria, such as vegetables and fruits, seasonal organic produce, honey, olives, free-range eggs, herbs, bread, cakes, beer and wine, as well delicious treats. Immigrants and visitors from Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East converge at the market, mixing a range of ingredients into the everyday plate of average travellers in Melbourne.
The market reflects such a diversity of mix of ingredients and cultures. After the shopping, visitors can relax and enjoy fresh pastry and a hot cup of coffee in sunshine (Boroondara 2014).

Analysis of Melbourne Markets and Boroondara Farmers’ Market

The concept of tourism product, as reflected in Melbourne Markets and Boroondara Farmers’ Market, is purely drawn from marketing and matches up with the set of goods and services utilised in tourism consumption by particular categories of consumers (López-Guzmán & Sánchez-Cañizares 2011). In addition to being anchored in the interaction of the consumer and the service providers, tourism products at the sites are both tangible and intangible.

Marketing approach takes in hand all market agents at the sites as well as the ways in which they constantly interact as a result integrating tangible and intangible products. This is indicated by the large group of farmers operating fresh product stalls displaying zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, and artichoke at Boroondara Farmers’ Market.

These also draw to the four-order typology of activities proposed by Hjalaguer & Richards (2003), which is value adding to the gastronomy tourism and that in many cases create tourism products. The four-order typology model proposes four orders of analysing gastronomy tourism products, mainly first-order, second-order, third-order and fourth-order activities.

First-order activities at the sites

According to the four-order typology model, the first-order activities centre on the sites where visitors enjoy food, including through the festivals or promotional events. Increased value-addition services are integrated at this level to promote food as a tourism product. Hence, promotion events take place (Hjalaguer & Richards, 2003). For instance, Melbourne Markets and Boroondara Farmers’ Market have vivacious and colourful displays that indicate exquisite atmosphere to convince the visitors that food is fresh and readily available. At Boroondara Farmers’ Market for instance, several dishes are good for photography, such as that of zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, and artichoke. At Melbourne Markets, the display of fresh food and vegetable in creates are good for photography, with tour guides that explain eating situations. Boroondara Farmers’ Market also creates tourism appeal through the monthly event that attracts inflow of business and agricultural tourists to Melbourne.

Second order activities at the sites

The second order activities are targeted at ensuring that tourist’s understand the local food. The order is concerned with quality improvement by demanding compliance with established standards. This is to ensure that the food products leave positive impact to the tourists (Hjalaguer & Richards, 2003). For instance, in order for the products at the Melbourne Markets and Boroondara Farmers’ Market to sustain their reputation as noble expressions of Melbourne’s food culture, attention is paid to standards to ensure consistency and controlled quality. At this stage, certification is of great significance. For farmers to participate at the Boroondara Farmers’ Market, they need accreditation from Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association (VFMA). Additionally, only accredited Melbournian producers and farmers can participate. All products at the site also have to be handled and labelled in compliance with the Australian food safety regulations (VFMA 2014).

Third-order activities at the sites

Third-order activities consist of restructuring the gastronomic experience. These include opening food sites for tourism, such as farmers market and wholesale market excursions. Hjalaguer and Richards (2003)
argue that niche producers may use the sites as window for marketing and public relations. At the Boroondara Farmers’ Market, food producers get to generate income by selling after visitors spend time watching the production processes and taste the products. Boroondara Farmers’ Market has an assortment. The themed event can also be linked conceptually to food. Dongkoo et al. (2011) analysed the development and feature of food events as an opportunity to promote awareness or local cultures and food. In this regard, the Boroondara Farmers’ Market is linked to the traditional specialties and food in Melbourne.

Fourth-order activities at the sites

The fourth-order activities consist of exchanging familiarity with the nutrition by improving knowledge-base. Fourth-order consists of developing and commodifying the knowledge-based lined to food and tourism (Hjalaguer & Richards, 2003). In which case, enhancing and integrating innovative capacities and knowledge resources are to interact with the entirety of the gastronomy and tourism sectors is essential. This includes the need to network and build trust among the potential stakeholders and partners. For instance, the farmer’s markets taking part in the tourism sector may be required to join specific networking association to foster trust. This applies in the case of the Melbourne Markets and Boroondara Farmers’ Market , both of which are members of Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association (VFMA 2014). In gastronomy tourism, the association does not view tourists as holiday makers exclusively by as professionals who need not only need culinary experiences bit also visions and knowledge of local cultures.


The basis of gastronomy is that tourists do have basic needs, whether travelling or at home, the most being food. Tourists are progressively more becoming interested in food products and consuming dishes that are distinctive of the area they are visiting. The underlying assumption of this report is that rather than eating being just a biological necessity, it allows tourists to accrue cultural capital through participation in gastronomic tourism. This reports draws on the four-order typology of activities proposed by Hjalaguer and Richards to illustrate how gastronomy as a tourism product at the Melbourne Markets and Boroondara Farmers’ Market. The two markets show that as a tourist destination, Melbourne has reinvented itself successfully through regional Australian cuisine. The two sites highlight the regional gastronomic traditions, identity and pride found Melbourne.


Boroondara 2014, Boroondara Farmers Market, viewed 29 Aug 2014, <http://www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/our-city/markets-restaurants/farmers-market>

Dongkoo, Y, Hennessey, S & MacDonald, R 2011, «Understanding Culinary Tourists: Segmentations based on Past Culinary Experiences and Attitudes toward Food-related Behaviour». International CHRIE Conference-Refereed Track. Paper 15.

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, Aalborg Universitet

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Londoño, M 2010, Gastronomy Tourism: An Opportunity For Local Development In Catalonia? A Stakeholder Analysis, viewed 23 Aug 2014, http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa11/e110830aFinal01083.pdf

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Mak, A, Lumbers, M, Eves, A 2012, «Globalisation and Food Consumption in Tourism,» Annals of Tourism Research vol 39 iss 2, pp.171-196

Shenoy, S 2005, Food Tourism And The Culinary Tourist, viewed 23 Aug 2014, https://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/tourism/documents/Shenoy2005.pdf

Stefan, G & Hall, M 2013, Sustainable Culinary Systems: Local Foods, Innovation, Tourism and Hospitality, Routledge, New York

VFMA 2014, Victorian Farmers’ Market Association Charter, viewed 23 Aug 2014, http://www.vicfarmersmarkets.org.au/content/our-charter