POPULARITY OF SLOW FOOD EVENTS IN RURAL AREAS 12
Popularityof slow/ local food events and activities in the rural areas
TheBowlees Visitor Center located in North Pennines, United Kingdom isrich with information about the history of the area, people livingthere, the wildlife, and the landscape of the area. As a result,people from different walks and regions of the world enjoy visitingthe place. This visitation by different people presents a potentialfor slow/ local food-related activities at the Bowlees VisitorCenter. The potential is drawn from the chefs visiting the region,comprehensive search for foods, seasonal specific food activities,and vast knowledge on the traditional recipes/ methods of foodproduction. This paper elaborates on the potential of slow/ localfood-related activities and events at the Bowlees Visitor Center andgoes ahead to review case studies of successful food events,projects, and approaches to food tourism and food events in otherrural destinations.
Slow/local foods are gaining popularity at an increasing rate. Thisscenario is more rampant within the rural areas set up compared tourban areas. As a result, slow/ local food-related events andactivities are equally becoming popular. The Bowlees Visitor Center,located in the North Pennines, which is one of the most remote areasin the United Kingdom, has the potential for slow/ local foodsrelated activities and events. This paper provides a discussion ofthe potentiality of the region for slow/ local food-relatedactivities and events that stem from the location of the center andthe availability of the unique local foods. This paper alsodiscusses the academic literature and case studies of successful foodevents, projects, and approaches to food tourism and food events inother rural destinations. The paper sums up with an identificationand segmentation of the market for the food tourism and food eventsoffer.
TheBowlees Visitor Center
TheBowlees Visitor Center is located in North Pennines in the UnitedKingdom. The North Pennines happens to be among the most remote andrural areas of England. The Center is located between theNorthumberland and the Yorkshire Dales National Parks(Northpennines.org.uk, 2015). To the East of North Pennines is theFormer West Durham coalfield while to the West is the Eden Valley.The North Pennines, being the second largest AONB, boasts as one ofthe largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Because of the natureand outstanding features of the area, people from all over the worldvisit the region to explore this beauty. The Bowlees Visitor Centerthus is equally visited by these people visiting the area because ofits location in the North Pennines. Little study has been carried outabout the North pennines making Bowlees Visitor Center a great areato visit and stay for people exploring the area and looking forwardto discovering more information on the history, the landscape, thewildlife, and the people found in the area.
Thepotential for slow/ local food-related events and activities at theBowlees Visitor Center
Therehas been an increase in the interest of local and slow food-relatedevents and activities in the rural areas (Hall, 2008). BowleesVisitor Center is an example of a center located in the rural areasof the North Pennines in the United Kingdom. The Bowlees VisitorCenter has a great potential for slow/ local food-related events andactivities. To begin with, a poll carried out by the national grocersassociation on customers found out more than 80% chose a grocerystore on the basis of whether the food was from the regionalproducers (Renko Et. Al, 2010). The Bowlees Visitor Center boasts ofa location in the North Pennines that is in the remote region of theUnited Kingdom. As a result, the Center has ready access to localproduce from the region. Because of this increased demand for locallyproduced foods, the Bowlees Visitor Center has a great potential ofslow/ local food-related activities for people desiring to satisfythe thirst for local/ slow foods.
Again,the government is keen to invest in the communities to ensure thatthe communities are in a position to tap the best benefits frominvesting in local and slow foods (Cohen and Avieli, 2004). TheBowlees Visitor Center being located on the rural region of UnitedKingdom can profitably tap the benefits of the investment of thegovernment on local foods. Because of the location of the center inthe rural area, it can easily obtain the locally produced foods touse in slow/ local food-related activities and events (Sidali Et. Al,2013). Again, less cost can be incurred as transport costs becausethe center is located within the rural area of North Pennines. Thismeans that the producers can easily take their produce to the center,or the center can easily collect the produce from the market at acost friendly price. The Center, therefore, has the potential forslow/ local food-related activities and events from the local produceobtained from the government investment on local and slow foods.
TheBowlees Visitor Center is located in one of the largest Area ofOutstanding Natural Beauty, the North Pennines. The Areas ofOutstanding Natural Beauty are a rich source of ecosystem servicesthat ensure a vast supply of necessary processes and resources (Aho,2001). Examples of such ecosystem services include food and waterproduction as well as the provision of recreational and culturalbenefits. These facts imply that the Bowlees Visitor Center enjoys agood supply of food, water, recreational and cultural benefits. Thecenter can use these readily available resources in slow/ localfood-related activities and events. Again, basing on its location inthe rural areas, the food supply is mainly on slow/ local foods. TheCenter can also tap expertise from the locals of the region to getrecreational and cultural services. The combination of these factorsmakes the area a potential for slow/ local food-related events andactivities.
Foraginglays a great potential for slow/ local foods in the Bowlees VisitorCenter. Foraging simply means an extensive search for provisions orfood materials. The North Pennines has wild foods availablethroughout the year. As a result, a series of foraging activities areevident throughout the year in search of wild foods. Relevant anduseful tips on the preparation of the foods and tasting is alsooffered by the locals who have good knowledge of wild foods (Kim,Ritchie, and McCormick, 2012). Different wild foods are foraged indifferent seasons implying that the foods are available throughoutthe year. Basing on its location, the Bowlees Visitor Center has agood potential in slow/ local food-related activities and events.
Traditionalfood production and recipes are evident in the North Pennines. Theregion has traditional mouthwatering recipes on various foodsprepared with traditionally available food produce. These naturalfoods show how the area is rich in historical and cultural foodofferings. Being located in the North Pennines, the Bowlees VisitorCenter has the potential for slow food-related activities. This isbecause of the chefs working in the area have perfected in thetraditional food production methods and not only encourage people toenjoy the locally made food from local resources but also ensure thatthey fall in love with the delicious servings (Sigala, 2012). Thesechefs can be an investment for Bowlees Visitor Center to promote slowfood-related activities making it gain potential for the same.
Casestudies on successful food events, projects, and approaches to foodtourism and food events in other rural destinations.
Theexpectations of visitors are on the rise as well as the intensity ofcompetition. As a result, there is a need for the tourism managers toseek ways of differentiating their destinations in a notable manner.Rural areas have not lagged behind in the matter bearing in mind theavailability of slow/ local food-related activities and events thathave become a great tourist attraction (Sidali, Et. Al, 2010). Therehas been notable success of food events, projects, and approaches tofood tourism and food events in rural destinations (Edwards, 1989).As a result, various scholars have studied on the same. Successfulfood events, projects, and approaches to food tourism and food eventsin rural destinations are mainly attributed to the fact that theyyield economic benefits to those regions.
Accordingto Rose (2010), there is a relationship between food events and foodtourism in the Rotorua region in New Zealand. To grasp the success ofapproach applied in food tourism and food events in the region, it isimperative to undertake destination differentiation to understandstrategies and methods utilized by other destinations. The nature offood servings in a region plays a vital role in enlarging the appealof the destination. One can, therefore, conclude that the nature offood events contribute significantly to food tourism in the ruralareas.
Fromthe findings of the study on Rotorua, failure to emphasize stronglyon food events has contributed negatively to food tourism and foodevents in the region (Rose, 2010). The study shows that an increasein the use of slow/ local food in the area would potentiallystrengthen the region’s development of food tourism. Although it isnot all regions that can market themselves as food tourism regions,Rotorua has the potential to make use of food as a tool for achievingdestination differentiation thus the development of the area. Thefindings from the study show that there is a link between food eventsand food tourism and that it has the capability to draw more visitorsto the area. Slow/ local food has a variety of uses in ensuring thesuccess of food-related events and activities in rural destinations.The local foods are usually prepared in traditional methods resultingin a unique blend of the recipe (Rose, 2010). This results insuccessful slow/ local food-related events in the Rotorua region.
TheBario region, a rural area in Malaysia, has successful food eventsand approach to food tourism and food events. According to FolorunsoAdeyinka-Ojo and Khoo-Lattimore (2013), the Bario community has overthe years organized slow food and cultural festivities yearly toattract tourists to the region. The authors explored on how thestaging of local food-related events have been employed as anapproach to promote food tourism and food events in the region. Thestudy also shows how the events and the approach can be employed tomake a destination rise the chain of value to result in successfulfood tourism and food events in the rural region of Bario (Harris,2009).
Thefindings from the study demonstrate that the organizing of foodevents and cultural festivities annually led not only to successfulfood tourism and food events for the region but also opened up theinfrastructure of the area (Lo, Et. Al, 2012). Again, being a ruralarea, the food activities, and food events supply different localfoods at relatively affordable prices attracting more tourists to theregion while at the same time retaining the existing ones. The Barioannual events are a success too because they offer a unique culturalexperience to the tourists. The study was in a position to explorethe use of local food-related events in Bario in Malaysia as asuccessful food event and approach in promoting food tourism and foodevents in the region.
Similarto the findings of the case studies above, the Failte Ireland hasconcentrated on the authenticity and the quality of the food theyserve to their visitors (Cohen, 2002). The visiting tourists alwaysraise their expectation on the regions they visit. The Failte,Ireland region is not an exception. Because of this fact, the tourismmanagers have to find ways of differentiating their destination toensure that their food tourism and food events thrive regardless ofcompetition from rivals. The successful projects and approachesemployed by the Failte Ireland region are based on the fact thatquality and authentic food servings are key to drawing and retainingtourists (Henchion and McIntyre, 2000). Basing on this fact, theFailte Ireland made a strategic move to dwell on the approach ofdeveloping food tourism and food events in Ireland.
Themain aim of this approach applied by Failte Ireland was intended toresult in the development of Irish food tourism through strengtheningof the food market for the exports, the popularity of the Irishdrinks industry, the spectacular culture, the blend of the unique andrenowned hospitality of the Ireland and the naturally greenenvironment (Henchion and McIntyre, 2000). These are the successfulfood events and approaches utilized by the Failte Ireland to promotefood tourism and food events in the region.
Themarket for food tourism and food-related events.
Anykind of offer to be sold to consumers should have the target marketidentified and segmented to ensure profitability and at the same timecustomer satisfaction (Meier, 1990). The best market for food tourismand food events should be that which yields the highest returns forthe tourism organization. The segmentation of the market should alsobe carried out through the grouping of the customers depending ontheir needs. Identifying and segmenting the market for food tourismand food events enables the service providers to identify theprofitability of customers and build customer loyalty while focusingon marketing to the most potential customers. The identification alsoimproves on the services offered, increases potentiality of theprofits by a reduction on the unnecessary costs, and ensures that theavailable resources are used in an appropriate way (marketsegmentation, activities, and environmental behavior in ruraltourism, 2015).
Inmost cases, the tourist attraction sites in a rural setting aresurrounded by low-income earners. The potential customers who willyield high profits in this case are the visiting tourists from otherregions. It is highly unlikely that the people living in the areawill pay for the foods in the same capacity as the visiting tourists.This is drawn from the fact that they may find it extravagant topurchase the locally available foods as opposed to making them intheir homes. The visiting tourists will, on the other hand, bepotential clients for this kind of offer because they would find thelocal food unique and authentic thus would love to try. Again, thevisiting tourists do not have access to the foods as opposed to thepeople living around the area. This would, therefore, leave them withthe option of purchasing the foods available in the tourist sites.
Thereis a potential for slow/ local food-related events and activities atthe Bowlees Visitor Center located in the North Pennines in theUnited Kingdom. The North Pennines is located in the rural area ofthe United Kingdom. The potential for slow/ local food-related eventsand activities at the Bowlees Visitor Center arises from its locationbetween national parks. The Bowlees Visitor Center, being located inNorth Pennines, which is a remote area implies that it has access tolocal foods from the local produce in the region. The North Penninesis also an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which means thatpeople from across the world visit the place view this beauty. Thepotentiality in the Bowlees Visitor Center for slow/ localfood-related activities and events arises from the people visitingthe Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, who would love to try theunique and authentic foods. Various scholars have studied thesuccessful food events, projects, and approaches to food tourism andfood events in different rural destinations. The success of thesefood events lays on factors such as the location of the visitors’centers in the rural regions and the originality and uniqueness ofthe local foods offered in the areas. It is necessary to identify andsegment the markets for this food tourism and food events regions forthe regions to be successful in this venture.
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