Gastro-tourists specifically travel to learn about new cultures through memorable food experiences. They span all ages, ethnicities, and incomes. These tourists plan more trips, stay longer, and spend more discretionary money when they travel. Interactions that include learning about regional foods and kitchen cultures and that foster relationships between the gastro-tourist and the gastro-host are more important to them than fancy amenities. Research that identifies characteristics and attributes of gastro-tourism experiences considered memorable is sparse. This inductive qualitative research study triangulated three data sources and two data collection methods (in-depth interviews and online surveys). Seven attributes linked to memorability are identified: (1) deliberate and incidental gastro-tourists, (2) travel stages, (3) foodie risk-taking, (4) interdependent co-created tourist–host relationships, (5) authenticity, (6) sociability, and (7) emotions. The attributes provide insights into the prevalent shift from product/service-dominant tourism to co-created experiential tourism opportunities and highlight the motivations that drive this emerging gastro-tourism market segment. By uncovering triggering moments that gastro-tourists value and find memorable, this study adds to the knowledge base of sustainable tourism development, destination branding promises, co-creation, and stakeholder theories.
- destination branding
- food or culinary tourism
- stakeholder theory
- sustainable gastro-tourism development