Call for abstracts: AIHR Guests on Earth conference on ‘Local Food for Vital Regions’
  • publication: 5 October 2018

Call for abstracts: AIHR Guests on Earth conference on ‘Local Food for Vital Regions: Facts and Myths’

26-27 March 2019

Leeuwarden (The Netherlands)


‘Local Food for Vital Regions: Facts and Myths’


Food is considered a reflection of the culture of a place and an expression of a society and its people (Du Rand & Heath, 2006). The offering of food is central to the hospitality experience at home, in commercial outlets and in wider society. After decades of globalisation, local food is welcomed as a pathway to sustainability for hospitality and tourism. Local food adds economic value for both restaurants and destinations, helping them distinguish themselves from competitors and cater to more demanding customers (Williams et al., 2014). Moreover, if local food is preferred above imported produce, local farmers and producers are supported, thus benefiting local economy beyond tourism and hospitality (Hjalager & Johansen, 2013). Yet, buying locally does not solely benefit the community socio-economically, by supporting jobs that otherwise might be lost, but also culturally by valuing and promoting local (food) traditions (Hall & Gössling, 2013; Everett & Aitchison, 2008). In addition, opting for local food helps preserve the ‘natural’ look of the surroundings and, as local food requires less travel to reach the table, reduces transport and its negative impact on the environment (Pratt, 2013). In summary: as a trend, local food benefits sustainability on all three dimensions (Cavagnaro & Curiel, 2012).

However, experience and research show that these benefits cannot be taken for granted: using local food does not by definition translate into less environmental impact and a more vital socio-economic region. For instance: without proper logistics, food miles may actually increase when a restaurant switches to local food; a purchasing department may not be capable of handling more suppliers than the usual number; buyers might in fact not even know what is available locally; guests may desire authentic, local food, but may also be taken aback by unfamiliar dishes (Yeoman & McMahon-Beatte, 2016). In fact, tourism has been seen as one of the culprits of the ‘McDonaldisation’ of culture, including culinary traditions (Page & Hall, 2003; Ritzer, 1993). From a socio-economic perspective the impact of the ‘buy and eat locally’ trend on ‘non-local’ growers, both nationally and internationally, is unclear (Seidel & Cavagnaro, 2018; Koens & Reinders, 2018). More generally, it can be questioned whether the ‘buy locally’ trend is part of a dubious turn against the unfamiliar. Indeed, the term ‘local’ itself is subject to debate. How should ‘local’ be defined? Is it dependent on distance, time, region? And where should the line between ‘local’ and ‘non-local’ be drawn? Should, for example, a Dutch restaurant stop offering coffee and chocolate because they are not ‘locally grown’?

The 2019 AIHR Guests on Earth conference is dedicated to ‘Local Food for Vital Regions: Facts and Myths’ in an effort to foster our understanding of the conditions under which ‘local food’ positively impacts the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability and thus contributes to more sustainable organisations and more vital communities.

Submissions are invited for papers addressing such themes as:

- Defining ‘local food’

- Psychology of ‘eating local’

- Socio-economic impacts of local food

- Buying local in hospitality

- Local food chains

- Local food chains governance

- Local food and gastronomy, e.g. art and customs of preparing local foods

- Local food, local traditions and the hospitality experience

- Local food and transportation

- Local food from an international perspective

- Successful implementation of local food to revitalise regions

- Unintended consequences of promoting local food, both locally and globally

- Food tourism

- Best cases of regions that successfully integrated local food in their hospitality & tourism proposal


Abstract submission: December 15th

Abstract acceptance: January 15th

The first 2019 issue of the Research in Hospitality Management journal will be dedicated to local food. After acceptance of the abstract you are encouraged to rework this into a paper for this special issue.

NOTE: You do not need to present a full paper to participate at the conference.

Full paper for submission to the special issue of RHM on local food: March 15th.

Acceptance of paper for publication in the special issue of RHM on local food: April 15th.

For further information please contact:

Quoted works

Cavagnaro, E. and Curiel, G.H. (2012) The three levels of sustainability, Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing

Du Rand, G.E. & Heath, E. (2006) Towards a Framework for Food Tourism as an Element of Destination Marketing, Current Issues in Tourism, 9(3), pp. 206-234

Everett, S. & Aitchison, C. (2008) Role of food tourism in sustaining regional identity: A case study of Cornwall, South West England, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 16(2) pp.150–167.

Hall, C. M. & Gössling, S. (2013) Sustainable culinary systems: Local foods, innovation, tourism and hospitality, New York: Routledge

Hjalager, A.-M. & Johansen, P.H. (2013) Food tourism in protected areas – sustainability for producers, the environment and tourism?, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21(3) pp.417-433.

Koens, K. & Reinders, H. (2018) Sustainable purchasing in an international context: a relational perspective, in Cavagnaro, E. (ed.) Sustainable Value Creation in Hospitality, Guests on Earth, Oxford: Goodfellow, pp.169-185

Page, S. & Hall, C.M. (2003) Managing Urban Tourism, London: Prentice Hall

Pratt, S. (2013) Minimising food miles: issues and outcomes in an ecotourism venture in Fiji, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21(8) pp.1148-1165

Ritzer, G. (1993) The McDonalidization of Society, An Investigation into the Changing Character of Contemporary Social Life, Newbury Park: Pine Forge Press

Seidel, S. and Cavagnaro, E. (2018) Purchasing local as vehicle for sustainable development – and for improved hospitality experiences, in Cavagnaro, E. (ed.) Sustainable Value Creation in Hospitality, Guests on Earth, Oxford: Goodfellow, pp.147-168.

Williams, A.R., Williams, R. & Omar, M. (2014), Gastro-tourism as destination branding in emerging markets, International Journal of Leisure and Tourism Marketing, 4(4) pp.1-18

Yeoman, I. & McMahon-Beatte, U. (2016) The future of food tourism, Journal of Tourism Futures, 2 (1), pp.95-98,