TripAdvisor Tourist Experiences of Local Cuisine in Battambang Province, Cambodia
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Food tourism significantly impacts the economy, socio-culture and the development of tourist destinations. Research in this area has identified that local food is perceived to be a peak experience for many tourists. In that way, food that allows tourists to experience more memorable cuisine can attract tourists to particular destinations. Specifically, my research dissertation asked in what ways do international tourists, using TripAdvisor, express their experiences of Cambodian cuisine in Battambang Province. Responding to that question was my qualitative inquiry into 118 TripAdvisor uploads about seven different Cambodian restaurants in Battambang Province, Cambodia. To understand those uploads I used thematic analysis to identify the key tourist themes that emerged from their data. My research found that several factors impacted international tourists’ food experiences in Battambang Province. Of particular note in my research findings was the importance tourists placed on: Cambodian food taste; the service encounter and servicescape; value of money; food as commensal experience; and learning about wider aspects of Cambodia, and its history through food experiences, experiencing authenticity and helping community. Adding to that is the timeliness of this work. The Government of Cambodia has recently begun initiatives that encourage food tourism. With that in mind, my research provides a timely insight into international tourist food experiences in Battambang that may benefit government agencies and small business enterprises alike.