Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Business Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Angela Wright


Food is an important aspect in creating tourism destinations and can be perceived as an immensely influential attraction for tourism. There are excellent examples of destinations that brand themselves through food tourism, using this special-interest area as a strategy to develop regional tourism and ultimately, increase tourist numbers. However, not all destinations use food tourism as a strategic branding strategy. One such example is Cork in Ireland. While having an excellent food offering, food is not a primary tourism activity in the region’s destination branding strategy.

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the feasibility of branding Cork as a food tourism destination, using a collective, joined-up thinking approach, involving the regional food tourism stakeholders. By studying the literature review, a set of indicators were collected which relate to each of the factors affecting food tourism branding for Cork. The methodology used in this research is a qualitative approach by way of a semi-structured interview with twelve of the key food tourism stakeholders in the Cork. Thematic analysis frames the study.

The findings of the empirical data were analysed and discussed with the aid of a literature review on tourism, tourist motivations, culture, food tourism, food tourism networks and branding. Based on the analysis, the researcher focused on answering the main research question: Is Cork capable of developing and harnessing a collective food tourism branding proposition, supported by the fragmented local tourism stakeholders?

The findings indicate that food can help Cork attract much sought-after culinary curious tourists, with the experience of food being their main motivation for travel. It can also be seen from the empirical data in this research study that Spain, New Zealand and many other countries and regions worldwide have, in recent years, developed a food culture identity by branding their cuisine and creating a travel culture. Culture, food brands, branding and education, were identified in this study as main factors that influence a successful food tourism branding proposition for Cork.

From this research, it is evident that Cork has no co-ordinated food tourism proposition in the region. However, with more collective, joined-up thinking response and sufficient destination branding initiatives; a strong food tourism brand can be created for the region. The possible gap in the lack of joined-up thinking response was revealed, and recommendations were provided.

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