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Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Research (AHTR) An International Journal of Akdeniz University Tourism, 7(2), pp.188-215. doi:10.30519/ahtr.574519


This paper focuses on how the phenomenon of food tourism developed in Ireland between 2009 and 2019. Employing a phenomenological epistemology, a qualitative methodology was adopted to explore key stakeholder’s lived experience of the Irish government’s approach to food tourism, identifying the primary drivers and key moments during the ten-year period. Extant literature was reviewed and critically evaluated. Using purposive sampling, and employing an emic posture, ten semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior governmental and tourism industry figures until saturation occurred. The findings highlight the influence that key policy makers, the formation of networks, clusters, and the role social entrepreneurs had on developing food tourism in Ireland. The influence of the economic downturn in 2008 was a force for change and creativity among both government agencies and the broader tourism and hospitality industry. Food tourism policy was aligned with broader government policy, the creation of regional tourism brands (Wild Atlantic Way etc.), linking gastronomy with cultural and other tourism initiatives and marketing strategies. Whereas food in tourism in Ireland is well established, only ten per cent of overseas visitors are travelling specifically for food experiences.


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