An investigation of food tourism at a food event: An examination of food tourists' behavior
Kim, Young H.
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Food is one of the most important elements in tourists’ destination choice and travel decision making. Food tourism, thus, is increasingly becoming a significant subject to researchers in the field of tourism. Food and its related tourist activities have been ascribed into a new category of tourism called “food tourism,” in which the motivation for traveling is to enjoy the special experiences to be obtained from food. The purpose of this study was to examine food tourists’ characteristics and investigate food tourists’ behavior. This research was designed to assist food event and destination marketing organizers in retaining attendees at their event. It was also designed to investigate the effect of a food event on its associated destination and products. Food tourists were examined in the context of a structural model of consumer attitudes on the basis of three components: cognitive, affective, and conative to predict people’s future intentions to revisit. The sample was drawn from tourists who were 18 years of age and older visiting a food event in the southwestern United States. A total of 305 usable questionnaires were obtained. To identify the underlying dimensions of the items in push and pull factors, principal component analysis was conducted. The t-test was conducted in order to find differences between two groups: first timers and repeaters. The results of the factor analysis showed that push items were loaded into three factors: Knowledge and Learning, Fun and New Experiences, and Relaxation with Family. Pull items were loaded into three factors: Area Quality and Value, Quality of Event, and Food Variety. The t-test analyzed the difference between the 175 participants who had no previous experience and the 130 who had experience(s) in this event. The results showed that there was a significant difference in tourists’ future intention to revisit (t = -3.444, p < .05) between the two groups. The tourists (M = 6.17, SD = 1.37) who had past experience(s) had more intention to revisit this event than first timers (M = 5.59, SD = 1.51). The results of the multiple regression analyses indicated that past experience (β = 0.19, p < .01) and satisfaction (β = 0.68, p < .01) were significant predictors of food tourists’ future intention to revisit this event.