In 2020, JPMD released the special issue “From place to plate…and back again”, edited by Peter Varley, Chloe Steadman and Annelie Sjölander-Lindqvist, brought forward in great depth the intimate links between food and place, the immaterial values (memories, narratives, experiences) that these links invoke to people who produce or consume them, and the central role of food in promoting a place’s gastronomic offer. In this first issue of 2021, we are continuing our interactions with food and place, albeit from a more strategic perspective, by exploring how culinary tourism, when coupled with technological advancements, can affect the visibility/awareness of a place as a destination and enrich the destination’s brand image, as well as its overall development.
The special issue “Technological transformation in culinary tourism: a stakeholder causal scope analysis for knowledge management, destination identity and place management”, edited by Darko Vukovic, Demetris Vrontis, Riad Shams and Md Rajibul Hasan, delves into this emerging field of research by raising the issue of stakeholder relationship management via contemporary technological tools and platforms (e.g. social media). In this context, this special issue aims to present novel insights on the impact of technological transformation of culinary tourism and stakeholder relationship management and its impact on stakeholder (e.g. tourists’) knowledge management to enhance destination brand identity to underpin the overall place management dynamism.
The special issue contains five papers: the first paper by Vrontis et al. titled “Culinary attributes and technological utilisation as drivers of place authenticity and branding: the case of Vascitour, Naples” highlights culinary tourism’s regional features that may support the development of stakeholder relationship management and explores how tourists’ technology-enhanced insights (like Facebook, TripAdvisor, websites, blog, etc) can bring positive impulse to regional development strategies. The paper by Vuksanovic et al. titled “QR codes as a tool for receiving feedback about guests’ satisfaction at destinations” further explores how quick response (QR) code application can impact tourist satisfaction at a destination regarding information about restaurants’ offer. Gajic et al.’s paper (“Creating brand confidence to gastronomic consumers through social networks – a report from Novi Sad”) analyses the impact of Instagram on promoting alternative types of food and highlights how social networks via social media enable greater transparency of tourism services in a specific area. Deep learning image recognition techniques can also be used to analyse motivation and customers’ wish to visit food restaurants, as Hasan et al. demonstrate in their study of Tripadvisor images in their paper titled “Using deep learning to investigate digital behaviour in culinary tourism”. The special issue ends with a systematic literature review focussing on technological transformation for the stakeholder causal scope (SCS) analysis in culinary tourism. The review by Schimperna et al. highlights the importanace of technological transformation knowledge in culinary tourism, especially today in the time of the pandemic caused by COVID-19.
Overall, the special issue tackles a specific gap in our knowledge of technological transformations, and how these assist the transition process of tourism management between culinary tourism, technology usage, stakeholder knowledge management and tourism sites as destination brand. The diverse insights of these papers will encourage numerous researchers and practitioners to focus their attempts at the intersection of gastro-touristic-technological-stakeholder management aspects of tourism and hospitality, in order to underpin destination brand management research and practice.
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