Updated: May 30
Author: Ema Guštin
Date of Publication: 23/05/2023
Food plays a significant part in the creation of tourist destinations and places, and it is acknowledged as a major potential draw for the travel industry. While some travel destinations have a distinct culinary identity, others lack a distinct "gastronomic face." Additionally, some regions lack the "food basis" or distinctive gastronomic resources necessary to develop such a brand, such as a branded product or regional cuisine.
Gastronomy and its Role in Country Promoting
Tourism is surely one of the greatest economic branches in the world. By promoting it, most countries begin systematic management of their image. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract visitors from foreign countries in the context of a globalized world. For these purposes, it is necessary to use all the possibilities in order to stand out over the competition.
One of the main attractive factors of a destination is the gastronomy of the area. Countries like Italy, France, Peru, and Spain get a certain number of their tourists only based on the strength and popularity of their national dishes. So, gastronomic loyalty is a term that denotes the return of tourists to a particular location because of its gastronomic offer.
For example, in Andalusia, Spain, a rate of 43% gastronomic loyalty was recorded. The situation in Croatia is not far away, already about 10 years ago, gastronomic loyalty of 22% was recorded. Now we come to the main challenge of gastronomic branding, which is sustainable development. Nowadays, sustainable development is a major challenge to every massive branch of the economy.
For instance, Spain is a world-known gastronomic destination. That prestige also carries many bad influences:
● Changes in water availability
● Biodiversity loss
● Reduced landscape aesthetic
● Altered agricultural production (e.g., wine tourism)
● Increased natural hazards etc
To not confuse the public, Spain is not a bad example of successful gastronomic branding. It is used here to show what being world famous also brings. To show some good examples of sustainable gastronomic branding we will use Italy and Denmark.
Requirements of being a gastronomic popular country
Denmark has many hygiene and tax laws. However, it doesn’t require any special qualifications in order to open a business entity. Italy requires facility owners to have experience or education in the sector. Moreover, to pass a special exam that allows them to register in the national system. Hygiene standards are also important. Yet there is an even greater emphasis on the quality, origin, and freshness of food.
Namely, all Italian products must be marked in order to make it known which region they come from and in which order they belong to qualities. If any food used in the dish is frozen, this must be indicated in the guest's menu. This encourages the use of the freshest possible ingredients.
Croatian Gastronomic Brand
Croatia is a small country on the Adriatic Sea, which juts out into the Mediterranean. It has a very geographically interesting coast and a favorable climate. Due to many invaders and different influences in the past, each part of Croatia has its own cuisine. Gastronomically, Croatia is divided into three regions: Istria, Dalmatia and continental Croatia. There is a great gastronomic tradition and regional diversity, in such a small area. In this lies the whole secret and potential of the development of the Croatian gastronomic brand.
Croatia has been a very popular tourist destination in recent years. Despite this, nature and the sea are still considered clean and their fruits unthreatened. However, the problems of incorrect branding of Croatian gastronomy and its presentation to the world are increasingly present.
● Istrian white truffle, as good as Piedmont truffle
● Istrian olive oil
● Kvarner shrimp (which can be compared with Norwegian and Scottish)
● Bluefin tuna, sardines, Adriatic sea bream
● A Slavonian pig that is on par with the Spanish Iberico brand
In addition to these individual products, Croatia has many dishes that are very special and are waiting to be appreciated on the world stage. The problem with the branding of Croatian gastronomy arises because it is focused only on certain goods. Here we find a link to the previously mentioned, sustainable development. In Croatia, it is all about truffles, wine, shrimp, olive oil, and fine dining.
Where is the problem?
The problem lies in the fact that these goods cannot be offered as much as the demand is, and that they are present only in some parts of Croatia.
What does this type of food tourism mean
● The concentration of tourists and the expansion of the restaurant business exclusively on the coast,
● excessive exploitation and forcing of nature,
● the need for imports due to excessive demand,
● excessively high prices in restaurants,
● which even the local population cannot afford,
● a distorted image of Croatian gastronomy,
● people with less purchasing power are forced to fast food
● Croatian agriculture, farming and fishing are not encouraged, and they are overwhelmed by foreign, cheap products
● Tourism is oriented to only a small part of the year (sun, sea)
What can Croatia do
A brand can be made from almost any natural or animal good. The picture, image, story, and added value of the product are present in dishes and products throughout Croatia. Wine, truffles, and shrimps are exclusive brands because Croatian people made them exclusive. But why don't we make a brand from Slavonian (continental) pig? Why don't we attract tourists to continental Croatia, but push them to the sea? Why are we pushing shrimp, of which there is not enough, and not small bluefish, and sardines, which are plentiful? Why do we make truffle chips, and we don't have enough truffles even in their original form? Why do we promote only fine dining restaurants on the coast and forget about taverns in the countryside?
All in all, Croatia is just showing itself on the world gastronomic scene. In fact, Tourism in Croatia brings a lot of profit and a large part of the economy is focused on it. What’s more, gastronomy, along with natural beauty, is the main reason for a tourist visit to Croatia. However, if we are already living from it, we should do it sustainably and with quality.