Chapter 16: Gastronomy and creative entrepreneurship in rural tourism: encouraging sustainable community development
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Tourism and gastronomy can be powerful drivers for the achievement of sustainable development, as outlined in political strategies at different levels. Recognizing this, the interdisciplinary GASTROCERT project studied the opportunities and limitations associated with gastronomy initiatives at regional levels in Europe. The project focused on four European locations; it explored the conditions, opportunities and limitations associated with gastronomy and entrepreneurship in rural tourism. While there are environmental challenges associated with tourism, gastronomic heritage plays a role in tourism development in rural areas and can benefit economic and social resilience. The social and cultural dimensions of food make it a feasible and potential ‘vehicle’ for innovation and knowledge creation, which can support and drive regional development. This emphasizes its relevance for rural and regional business and policy development strategies, as well as its value in terms of research within rural development connected to tourism. The findings of this study are applicable to similar rural regions where gastronomy is picking up pace and producing direct and indirect opportunities in relation to employment and new business development.

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