Will the Japanese Venture Out of Barcelona and Taste Local Food?
The aim of this article is to study the preferences and motivations of Japanese tourists in Barcelona regarding gastronomic experiences in the city and the willingness to undertake local trips to rural areas in Catalonia (the Spanish region of which Barcelona is the capital city) to enjoy food with a more local flavor. Drawing from the literature on gastronomic tourism and on Japanese tourist behavior, and from qualitative research, the article finds that the Japanese eating behavior in Barcelona differs from Japanese behavior in other destinations. The core eating behavior of Japanese tourists in Barcelona is local food, among which stereotypical Spanish food is dominant. They have no image of Catalonia and its gastronomy. However, they would venture to visit the Catalan hinterland if gastronomic attractions would be combined with nature and heritage, and provided they would get assistance to find information, organize the trip, and deal with cultural barriers. The findings can help the local industry and Japanese tour operators develop and market their products, which should ideally be segmented by age.
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