The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the topic of this dissertation and then to explain why this research is important is to promote local cuisine to market a place as a tourism destination. This study is initiated by the question on what are the elements that stimulate to promote local cuisine to market a place as a tourism destination, which is often considered as an important element in tourism. Furthermore, this study will help tourism industry to get the overview of the factors that will increase the number of tourist by promoting local cuisine in a tourism destination. In addition, they are able to see more clearly the importance of the elements, a tourism industry vitally needed to boost their income level in today world trend.
1.1 Background of the Study
Ever wonder how important is a tourism sector? According to The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), travel and tourism is the world’s largest generator of jobs, producing economic growth, investment and foreign trade. Tourism brings in foreign exchange earnings, diversifies the economy, and promotes regional development through the expansion of tourist destinations and resources throughout the country (Valencia, 1991). Tourism comprises the main framework of economics in some countries and it is considered as an economic and employment generator.
Over the last quarter century, beginning from a low base, Malaysia has developed a major travel and tourist industry. In 1980, Malaysia attracted modest 2.3million international tourist arrivals, but by 2005 this figure had increased to 16.4 million, making Malaysia the second most visited country in Asia after China (New Straits Times, 2005).
The Malaysian government regards tourism as an important vehicle to diversify its economic structure. It is because, tourism has become Malaysia’s most successful services sector, with the tourism, restaurant and hotel subsectors accounting for 43% of total final services in 2005 (EIU, 2005). In 2006, official projections were that there would be 18.1 million international tourist arrivals in Malaysia and that travel and tourism would generate US$30.8 billion in total demand. The direct and indirect effect of travel and tourism in Malaysia in 2006 was expected to account for 14.6% of GDP and 1,345,000 jobs (12.6% of total employment). The travel and tourism sector generated US$18.1 billion in export revenue, representing 10.1% of exports in 2006, making tourism Malaysia’s second largest foreign exchange earner after manufacturing (WTTC, 2006).
Kelantan is one of the states situated in Malaysia and it is located on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Kelantan is famous for its distinctive cultural heritage and known as “Cradle of Malay Culture”. Due to that, unparalleled hospitality of the locals is including local cuisine that could influence the tourism development in the state. Local food has been found to be an important element of the tourist experience which adds value to a holiday at a destination (Quan ; Wang, 2004). Local cuisine, which contributes to a destination’s identity, is an integral part of the travel experience for many travelers .Local cuisines should become apparent, obvious and visible as a destination’s intangible heritage; as experiencing the delectable taste allows tourists to gain an authentic cultural experience.
Tourism is growing industry as more and more people flock to see the rich Malay culture that is inherent in the lifestyles of Kelantan’s people. Besides, Kelantanese have preserved their customs, tradition and cultures well over the years. Same goes to the local cuisine where the taste and the method of preparing where they follow from their ancestors till today.
Gastronomy is the possession of skills, knowledge relating to food and drinks and their preference. It is also an art of living which enhance the enjoyment and pleasure of eating and drinking. This satisfaction is the fundamental of gastronomic tourism. Gastro is a word that derived from “gastros” which means stomach and “gnomos” which means knowledge of law in Greek. The terms ‘gastronomy’ and ‘culinary tourism’ are often used, and in the eyes of the majority of tourists and tourism professionals they are mostly interchangeable. For some, however, the use of the word ‘gastronomy’ implies the inclusion of ‘fine dining’ with a high level of culinary skill used to create masterpiece dishes from exquisite ingredients of the highest possible quality.
Malaysia is the vast gastronomic product and one of the well-known countries in South Asia which offer it to international tourists. A diverse ethnic, diverse cultural and various society comprises Malays, Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups who live side by side have created the unique gastronomic products with the combination of ingredients and taste. The types of equipment used, the style of cooking and the way of serving food are also fascinating. So, it justifies Malaysia is a simply a gastronomic heaven. This study seeks to discover the Kelantan gastronomic products such as local cuisine and how could it be promote Kelantan as a tourism destinations.
1.2 Problem Statement
Gastronomic tourism played a vital action in changing our life. Modern life with high-speed pace made people spend less time in cooking. In the meantime, eating out, and attending food festivals has become interesting activities (Gheorghe, Tudorache, & Nistoreanu). Nowadays, people started to explore leisure involvement associated to food which caused gastronomic tourism to receive much attention. Indeed, gastronomic tourism also encouraged tourists to appreciate both food and memorable dining experience at the same time (Su, 2015).
There were some issues occurred towards intention to travel for gastronomy tourism among tourist as it is a very big scope. Local cuisine is frequently described as an important factor for tourists considering possible destinations to engage in wine or culinary tourism (Canadian Tourism Commision, 2002). Numerous studies had potrayed the significance of gastronomy tourism as a key contributor to the tourist motivation to travel for foods (Ottenbacher & Harrington, 2011). Tourist who travelled to many places in the world will gain many experiences and knowledge about tourism. In the case, tourists might continue with a few sentences like, “this place gave lots of interesting experience to the tourist” as the tourists were aware that food and beverage gave a major contribution to travellers (Nunkoo & Ramkissoon, 2010).
The focus gastronomy is not a new one, but it is timely. We had become dangerously disconnected from the source of our food and its value; a dynamic that has facilitated numerous injustices within the food system. Besides, cultivating a more substantial awareness and knowledge of food is imperative for a healthy, positive future. ” In a narrow sense, gastronomic tourism is a series of activities which features as local food and unique food culture to attract tourists to enjoy local food” (Su,2015).
The role that food played in tourism industry cannot be ignored. In some way, the tourists did not realise that experience were usually the primary motive for selecting a certain destination and success of tourist destinations is nearly connected to the gastronomic identities (Nunkoo & Ramkissoon,2010). The lack of awareness and motivation from the tourist about gastronomy tourism made food destination to be more well-known with foods identities and it had created an unfavourable image. Efforts in marketing strategy must be taken to develop positive motivation and awareness of tourists about image of Malaysian gastronomy destination and activities (Ab Karim & Chi, 2010).
As an example, Sarawak is also a state of Malaysia, well known with the tourism products like eco-tourism, cultural tourism, wildlife tourism and also gastronomic tourism (Sarawak Government, 2009). With the development of gastronomy tourism, Sarawak becomes popular not only among the Malaysian but also to the international tourists
Tourism is the second most important sector for Kelantan besides agricultural sector. As we known, Kelantan is famous for its natural attraction and beautiful destination. So, eco-tourism in Kelantan is given attentions from public but not gastronomy tourism. According to Ismail (2016), the image of Kelantan is still the eco-tourism destination even though the promotion has been done to promote and attract more people to visit Kelantan for the purpose of promoting cultural tourism including food tourism. But, is gastronomy tourism in Kelantan not worth to invest? Hall and Sharples (2003) argue that besides travelling for those common tourism activities and products, an increasing number of tourists now are travelling for the purpose of experiencing the uniqueness and authenticity of the gastronomic products in a particular destination. Moreover, Richards (2002) noted that many people in this present day are motivated to travel for gastronomic.