Experiences with local food in a mature tourist destination: The importance of consumers’ motivations

Antonio Almeida, Brian Garrod

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While there is a great deal of literature dealing with food tourism, and food events and festivals in particular, much less has been written about the role of food in the general tourism experience. This study presents the findings of a study of the food habits of tourists based on a representative sample of 392 respondents staying in Madeira. A particular focus is on the preferences of tourists with regard to sampling the traditional gastronomy of Madeira. The results suggest that even though most tourists to Madeira could not be described as niche ‘food’ tourists, motivations to visit the island do nevertheless overlap with motivations to eat traditional local food once the tourist has arrived. The paper also argues that relaxation may be a more important motiving factor for people to eat out than previously thought. Eating out in restaurants may be a ‘peak’ experience, a ‘supporting’ experience, or both, depending on the context in which it is undertaken. The study also identifies and describes three clusters of tourists to Madeira depending on their level of engagement: the ‘interested’, the ‘supportive’ and an ‘intermediate’ group. These findings will help various destination organisations to shape the tourist’s experience of Madeiran food so that it can make a greater contribution to local economic development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-187
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Gastronomy and Tourism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2017


  • behaviour
  • food
  • local
  • motivation
  • traditional


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