Relationship between the image of food and food satisfaction of international tourists: the moderating effect of tourist groups

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Charoenchai Agmapisarn
Hyung-Min Choi
Siriporn Khetjenkarn


Thailand enjoys growing tourism revenues from the increasing number of tourists year by year. Food tourism is a core component of the tourism experience in Thailand; it contributes to the growth of its sustainable tourism and highlights the country’s unique identity and local culture. Food tourism and local food attributes are vital in attracting tourists to visit a particular destination and engage in food-related activities. This type of tourism has been regarded as a form of promoted tourism that has received much attention from tourists due to its stimulating effect on their satisfaction. As a tourism strategy, food tourism has become increasingly significant for many countries in attracting tourists to revisit and in increasing revenues
for the economy. Although Thailand actively promotes food tourism, with European tourists being the highest spenders in its tourist market, several issues need to be clarified. This study examines the effect of food image on the food satisfaction of tourists and compares the impact of food image in Thailand on two groups of tourists, namely, European and non-European tourists, by performing structural equation modelling and multiple group analysis. Results indicated that food image significantly influences tourists’ food satisfaction, with tourist groups playing a moderating role. The European tourist group shows a higher level of satisfaction toward food image than the non-European group. This study’s results can provide managerial implications that can aid in the development of a food tourism strategy for Thailand. Practical suggestions are proposed to sustain and improve food tourism in Thailand to suit a diverse tourist group and help stakeholders in developing and supporting food image factors that contribute to food tourism.


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