Local food and tourism in the Global South
Many countries in the Global South import a significant share of the food served to tourists. For decades, closer linkages of local food producer and the resort industry have been heralded as an antidote to this unsustainable circumstance, further encouraged by the current consumer trend around local food. Reflections on two qualitative research projects in resorts in South Africa and Fiji challenge the notion that tourists move out of their comfort zone to eat local dishes to any greater extent. Large-scale, internationally branded and managed resorts serve predominantly what their tourists from the Global North like to eat: a Western cuisine. If farmers want to benefit from this resort industry, they have to grow food according to the Western palate, which in turn has questionable impacts on biodiversity levels and environmental health in general. The discussion around localising tourism-related food chains in countries of the Global South needs to acknowledge for whose agenda food is being produced. “Corporate resorts” endorse neither a very sustainable nor a locally adaptable culinary agenda.
Keywords: agriculture–tourism linkages, cuisine, Fiji, Global South, local food, South Africa, sustainable tourism