Research Key

food as a determinant of domestic tourist behavior in Kumba I Municipality

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Descriptive statistics
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This study seeks to know if food is a determinant to domestic tourist behavior in the kumba I municipality.

The general objective of this study is to access food potentials as a determinant of domestic tourist behavior in kumba I municipality in a bid to seek strategies to help improve on the potentials.

The specific objectives seek to: to identify food as a tourist attraction in Kumba I municipality, to evaluate food preferences or motivators, satisfaction and loyalty, challenges of promoting food tourism amongst domestic tourist and to propose strategies for integrating and promoting food tourism into domestic tourism development.

Data for this research was collected using both primary and secondary data. the data collection instruments included: questionnaires, interview, observation and documents review.

The qualitative data was analysed and organized based on pattern, repetition and commonalities into themes based on the study variables.

Quantitative data involved questionnaires from the field. The raw data obtained from the field was cleaned, sorted and coded. The coded data was entered into a computer (Microsoft excel program), checked and statistically analysed.

The results were presented in the form of tables and charts then discussed in relation to the objectives of the study.

The results indicated that the research is guided by the hypothesis that: Traditional dishes and variety have a positive influence on domestic tourist behavior as opposed to continental dishes



1.1 Background of the study                       

Food tourism is simply a matter of exploration or traveling beyond your immediate neighborhood to find great food of your taste. It is now considered as a vital component of the tourism experience. Food tourism in this organized shape is a recent practice giving rise to an offshoot tourism niche.

Food tourism gained popularity in 2001, when Erik Wolf, the president of the International Culinary Tourism Association (ICTA) launched a white paper about culinary tourism which he define food tourism as “ the pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drinking experiences, both far and near.

The presence of the French bread in France has made tourist visit the area more will increases the revenue in the country, as well as other African countries like Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana since most tourist love the taste of African meal.

This study attempts to identify the salient factor affecting how food determines tourist behaviorby reviewing available studies in the hospitality and tourism literature, food consumption has a diverse influence on tourist behavior.

Factors that acts as food determinant to tourist behavior are identified as cultural/religious influences, socio-demographic factors, food-related  personality  traits, exposure  effect/past  experience,  and motivational factors.

According to Cohen &Avieli (2004), motivational factors can be categorized into five main dimensions: symbolic, obligatory, contrast, extension and pleasure. Food as determiner, is a crucial form of tourist behavior, and been has largely neglected in the hospitality and tourism literature.

This  neglect  was  due  to  the traditional  notion  that  food  is  a  ‘supporting  resource’  which supplements  a  destination’s  appeal  to  its  tourists, according to Quan and Wang (2004), one that is largely an extension of tourists’ daily routines.

However, recent years have witnessed a surge of research interest in food as a determiner to tourist behavior, covering areas such as food service food/gastronomic experiences in tourism according to Kivela&Crotts (2006) in Chang, kivela and Mak (2011).

This  growing  interest  is  fuelled  by  an  increasing  number  of destinations  utilizing  their  culinary resources  in  promoting  and  differentiating  themselves  from others,  for  example,  Australia,New  Zealand,  Italy,  and  Singapore  according to Hall  & Mitchell (2002) in Chang et al (2010).

Despite the  recent  growing  attention,  Kim,  Eves  and  Scarles (2009), however point to the fact that research in the field is in its infancy and its basic tenets is still being established.

 The need for research on this important aspect of hospitality and tourism has been urged by a number of researchers such as Chang et al., Cohen &Avieli,  Stewart, Bramble,  &Ziraldo, Au  and  Law contend  that  tourist  food  demand  tends  to  be inelastic.

Other studies indicate that food consumption expenditure can constitute up to one-third of the total tourist expenditure according to Telfer& Wall (2000).

Hence, the economic benefits brought by tourist food consumption can significantly affect the economic viability and sustainable competitiveness of a destination and the hospitality businesses operating in the locality.

 While the economic significance of tourist food consumption is recognized, little research has systematically and comprehensively explored the factors affecting tourist food consumption. According to Kivela&Crotts (2006) in Chang et al (2010), a multidisciplinary approach is adopted in this study.

The  aim is  to  synthesis  relevant  perspectives  from  hospitality  and  tourism,  food consumption, and sociological research to generate a thorough understanding of the phenomenon.

However,  due  to  space  constraints,  this  paper  does  not  address  the  relationships  between  food production and consumption in destinations; rather, it is focused on the literature dealing with the socio-cultural and psychological factors affecting tourist food consumption.

In general, food researchers agree that these factors can be classified into three broad categories: the individual, the food, and the environment, according  Randall &Sanjur (1981) in Shepherd  &Raats(1996).

The  food  itself  contributes  sensory  attributes  such  as  flavor, aroma, texture, and appearance; whereas the environment presents cultural, social, economic and physical influences.

As for the individual, socio-cultural, psychological, and physiological factors are recognized to exertdirect or indirect effects on food consumption behavior.Amongst these three  broad  categories,  factors  relating  to  ‘the  individual’  are  widely  accepted  to be extremely crucial in explaining the variations in food consumption, according to  Rozin (2006).By  adapting  Randall  &Sanjur’s  (1981) theoretical  model  which  categorizes  the  factors influencing food preferences into the individual, the food, and the environment, the present study proposes that potential factors affecting food consumption in the context of tourism can likewise be  categorized  into  three  main  categories:  the  tourist,  the  food  in  the  destination,  and  the destination  environment. Food in the  destination  presents  factors  such  as  sensory attributes,  food  content,  cooking  methods, according to Cohen  &Avieli (2004) in Chang et al (2010). The destination environment contributes  factors  such  as  gastronomic  image/identity, marketing communications,  service  encounter,  and  service scope  (i.e.,  physical  elements  in  a  consumption setting’s built environment) according to Harrington(2005) in Fox (2007) and Chang et al (2011).

Arguably, these factors can be more complex than food consumption in home settings, for there is asubstantial change in both the ‘food’ and the ‘environment’ components. Above all, tourists’ formerattitude towards  food  and  eating  might  change,  and  a  different  set  of  motivations  might influence  their preferences and choice of food in the new and unfamiliar environment.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Food-related  personality  traits  have  begun  to  be  recognized  as  important  psychological variables  affecting  tourist behavior.  Food-related personality traits  refer  to  individual characteristics  that  exert  a  pervasive  influence  on  a  broad  range  of  food-related  behaviors. 

In particular, two main types of traits can be identified from the tourism literature: food neophobia and variety-seeking. 

Food  neophobia,  or  the  reluctance  to  ingest  novel  foods  according to Pliner&Salvy (2006), it is  at  the  heart  of  the  mechanism  dictating  human  food  choice.

Humans as omnivorous animals will try various food sources, however, they will, at the same time, be cautious not to ingest toxic or harmful food sources.  Food neophobia, therefore, is described as a natural biological correlate of omnivorous exploratory.

According to Pliner and Salvy (2006), food neophobia can be conceptualized as a personality trait involving a relative preference for familiar over novel foods. This condition is stable over time and consistent across situations.

However, there are large individual differences in the extent of food neophobia. Variety seeking tendency has been widely adopted in tourist behavior.

While closely related to cultural background, socio-demographic factors allow investigations into socio-economic and demographic variables as within-culture determinants of tourist behavior.

This study attempts to address this deficiency by consolidating existing hospitality and tourism literature  to  identify  the  salient  factors  affecting  tourist  food  consumption  and  the interrelationships among these factors, taking into consideration the idiosyncratic nature of food consumption in tourism, its essentiality on one hand according to Richards (2002) and its symbolic nature on the other.

In many food determinant as a tourist behavior  research,  socio-demographic  factors are recognized to be important variables in explaining variations in food consumption in different  contexts, accordingto  Furst  et  al (1996),  Khan ( 1981),  Randall  &Sanjur ( 1981).

In particular, evidence suggests that age, gender, and social status (or social class) is significant in accounting for variations in food preferences.

Evidence  from  the  tourism  literature  suggests  that  tourist  food  consumption  can  be influenced by socio-demographic factors. For instance, Tse and Crotts (2005) found that tourists’ age  was  negatively  correlated  with  the  number  and  range  of  their  culinary  explorations. 

This suggests that elder tourists may consume a narrower range of foods available in a destination. Kim et al (2009), also identified gender, age, and education as three socio demographic variables that affects tourists local food consumption.

One major problem of food being a determinant of domestic tourist behavior is that, most domestic tourists do not yet see food as a source of growth and motivator for travel. As such, they tend to under look the potentials food has as a pull factor in tourism.

Another is that lesser known destinations offering first rate food may not have the accommodations and other Infrastructure for the tourist. The inaccessibility by the tourist to come in contact with the chef, visit the kitchen, show love and appreciation which confers on them.

Food variety in Kumba is not exploited since the inhabitants pay little attention to it.

Also, food hygiene and sanitation is poor due to the fact that most restaurants use well water to cook which is not convenient for everyone and also the dishes are being washed with unclean water thus this makes the food not to be hygienic.

Moreover, over importance is not being giving to the home and traditional food unlike the continental food which people prefer it over their traditional food since its easy and less expensive to make and it is not time consuming.

1.3 Research Questions

The following research questions are answered in this study

  1. What are the various dishes served in the Kumba I municipality?
  2. Which dishes are most preferred and how to food attributes affect domestic tourist behavior in Kumba I municipality?
  3. What accounts for the lack of food tourism promotion among domestic tourist?
  4. How can food tourism be developed amongst domestic tourists?

1.4 Research Objective;

1.4.1 General Objective

The study seeks to assess food potentials as a determinant of domestic tourist behavior in KumbaI Municipality.

1.4.2 Specific Objective

The specific objectives will seek to:

  • To identify food varieties that can serve as tourist attraction in KumbaI municipality.
  • To determine food preferences amongst the local population in the Kumba I municipality.
  • Challenges of promoting food tourism amongst domestic tourist.
  • To propose strategies for integrating and promoting food tourism into domestic tourism development.
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