Investigating Guesthouse and Cuisine Experiences in the Maldives: A New Research Method Utilising a Tasting Buffet
Shenaan, M; Schanzel, H; Berno, T
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Guesthouses have transformed the tourism industry in the Maldives, from being solely focussed on enclave, luxury resorts, to offering affordable local island tourism to a new market. Food and tourism are closely linked. The lack of previous research concerning Maldivian guesthouses and local cuisine experiences means that further study is warranted. This paper will introduce a novel study participant recruitment method in the form of a local cuisine tasting buffet. Buffets were arranged at three guesthouses on three different islands. International tourists who ate at the buffets were then invited to participate in interviews about their experiences and perceptions of the accommodation, the buffet food, and their overall experiences of holiday cuisine. Initial findings indicated that, surprisingly for participants, the buffet was for many their first opportunity to try local dishes, which most found enjoyable. There was a lack of previous knowledge concerning what local Maldivian cuisine consists of and several tourists recounted memorable experiences of eating unfamiliar foods on their travels.