How does a destination's food image serve the common targets of the UNESCO creative cities network?


INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF TOURISM CITIES, vol.6, no.4, pp.785-812, 2020 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 6 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/ijtc-07-2019-0115
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, ABI/INFORM, CAB Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.785-812
  • Keywords: UNESCO, Destination food image, Gastronomy city, Gaziantep, The creative cities network, CULINARY TOURISM, GEORGE TOWN, LOYALTY, PERCEPTIONS, EXPERIENCES, GASTRONOMY, INTENTION, AGREEMENT, CUISINES, IDENTITY
  • Akdeniz University Affiliated: Yes


Purpose As one of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization initiatives, the creative cities network (CCN) declares the cities that are creative in the contexts of music, gastronomy, design, etc., with the aim of promoting cooperation amongst the member cities and maintaining sustainable urban development. This study aims to identify the destination food image of Gaziantep in Turkey, which is a member gastronomy city of the CCN since 2015. Identified destination food image elements were connected to the common targets of the CCN to show how the city may contribute to the network objectives. Design/methodology/approach A two-stage research process was used in the study. First, qualitative approach was adopted for the clarification of projected and perceived destination food image elements. Projected image elements were derived from a content analysis performed on a totally 113 official, semi-official and unofficial online documents in Turkish and English. Perceived destination food image elements were identified by face-to-face interviews, conducted on 10 participants. As a result, 18 projected and 20 perceived destination food image elements were obtained. These were then grouped under 4 main and 22 sub-categories. At the second stage, destination food image elements were matched with common targets of the CCN. Findings Destination food image elements, obtained by two qualitative studies, are grouped under 4 main and 22 sub-categories as follows: gastronomic identity (with sub-categories of destination's identity and local culinary culture); diversity of the destination (with sub-categories of attractiveness of the local food, ease of promotion and high brand value); gastronomic attractions (with sub-categories of restaurants and cafes, culinary museums, farmer markets, orchards, gastronomy tours, gastronomy events (e.g. festivals, competitions), culinary education, books on gastronomy, certification systems, organizations, street foods and vendors and handmade or homemade foods); and qualified workforce and stakeholders (with sub-categories of expert chefs and cooks, specialist suppliers, service personnel, locals and local authorities). These are then connected to the common CCN targets (e.g. cuisine, tourism and festivals; extension of the creative value chain; fostering cultural creativity; and sustainability). Originality/value This is one of the early research attempts in examining a member gastronomy city's food image elements and the role that they played in the success of the CCN's common targets. Moreover, the study contributes to the literature on the identification of (projected and perceived) destination food image by using content analysis.