The tourism industry is experiencing a stage of strong challenges. The high levels of competitiveness among the destinations and the growing specialization and knowledge of consumers force the sector to constantly seek new inputs for innovation and to keep a close eye on the wishes of modern tourists.
Travel is gaining a central role in people's lives. Tourism experiences are considered as opportunities, not only for rest and disconnection from daily stress, but also for personal development, learning and self-realization.
This trend has two consequences in tourism markets that must be taken into account in order to correctly interpret the current tourism phenomenon and develop proposals in line with market expectations.
On the demand side, consumers are looking for products with an emotional and experiential content that improve their quality of live, contributing to increasing their wellbeing after the trip.
On the supply side, tourism agents are faced with the need to offer an intangible value (emotions, education, happiness etc.) through tangible and viable proposals in international tourism markets.
In this context, some tourism practices, more than others, provide an experiential contact between the traveller and the destinations. Among them, gastronomic tourism stands out as a tourism practice particularly prone to experientiality (Lin 2014; Richards 2012; Ryu and Jang 2006).
This type of trip is chosen by all those consumers who want to learn about a territory through its culinary culture. The latter includes, not only the flavours of the traditional dishes, but also the entire network of histories, knowledge, productive practices and traditions of the destination that have contributed to determine the diet, the economy and the social customs of the local communities (Molz 2007).
Leal (2011) affirms that gastronomic tourism is one of the best expressions of modern society. Tasting, sampling and smelling food are considered experiential activities in which producers, restaurateurs and local agents make an effort to offer an authentic facet of the local culture through a participatory encounter with the food of a certain the area.
From a tourism perspective, gastronomy offers a set of tangible and intangible resources capable of sustaining food tourism as a specific typology, based on the use of local culinary heritage and that provides participation, authenticity, involvement, education and fun to the traveller, that is, the new values that tourists seek in their travel experiences (López-Guzmán et al. 2014).
In recent years gastronomic tourism has experienced a rise that has led it to be placed among one of the main travel practices, chosen by a growing part of the current tourism demand (López-Guzmán and Sánchez-Cañizares 2012). The market and tourist literature coined the word ‘foodies’ to refer to those consumers who are sensitive to gastronomic themes, not only in relation to their trips, but also in their daily lives (Fox 2007).
Foodies should not be confused with tourists who usually eat in typical restaurants throughout their stay at a destination. It is rather a consumer with a deeper interest in culinary cultures, ranging from the education of the palate (learning how to differentiate and recognise through taste the qualities of a typical food) to the complete knowledge of a gastronomic territory (including producers, production, conservation and cooking techniques for a specific food or ingredient).
This trend has led to the creation of numerous subcategories such as Oleotourism, or olive oil tourism, which together with wine tourism, is one of the most popular expressions of gastronomic tourism.
This tourist practice has a special relevance for the countries of the Mediterranean basin as it is the largest olive grove in the world (Quesada et al. 2010). Spain in particular, is the mayor producer of olive oil worldwide (Sabbatini et al. 2016) and, therefore, is the country with the greatest interest in the tourist use of the olive oil and groves. The union between olive oil and tourism proposes a range of opportunities for the sustainable development of the producing regions such as the revitalization of rural areas, the diversification of olive growing activity, the attraction of new consumers and new markets, among others (Quesada et al. 2010).
Currently, Oleotourism is a practice that has gained the attention of academics and researchers in the area of tourism marketing and management, generating a theoretical and empirical body of publications, projects and doctoral theses that shape a growing line of research (Murgado et al. 2011).
Oleotourism has been approached from different perspectives such as the study of its demand, the analysis of the offer, its conceptual definition, its potential for local rural development, and its categorization into more consolidated tourism typologies such as rural tourism, agrotourism, cultural or gastronomic tourism.
The objective of the present work is, on the one hand, to identify the scientific literature about Oleotourism in order to find out which are the main findings reached in this research line and, on the other hand, to outline new research objectives aimed at expanding the knowledge about this practice and at obtaining the best economic, social and environmental benefits from the development of this new tourist typology.
In the following sections a detailed review of the literature is proposed. Specifically, the next section describes the meaning of Oleotourism from the perspective of demand and supply. Section two describes the methodology used. The third section presents the results of the review with a bibliometric and content analysis of the specialized literature identified. The fourth section offers a brief discussion of results before presenting the final conclusions, limitations and future research lines in section five.
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF OLEOTOURISM: THE DEMAND AND SUPPLY PERSPECTIVE
As happened with wine tourism, Oleotourism has found its original impulse as a strategy to diversify the agricultural income of rural areas and to bring a greater number of consumers to olive products (Millán et al. 2010a; Millán and Pérez 2014).
In order to understand the relevance of Oleotourism in Europe it is important to analyse this phenomenon from a double perspective: the supply side, the producers, the agents of the olive-growing areas and the demand side, the travellers and consumers of products and services created around the olive oil.
From the supply perspective, this tourism practice has a significant environmental, cultural value, since it favours the conservation of tangible and intangible assets linked to the olive-growing areas (Alonso and Krajsic 2013).
Most of the olive oil that is present in world markets is produced in Europe, being Spain, Italy and Greece, the largest producers in the world (Sabbatini et al. 2016).
For the Mediterranean countries, the tourist use of olive oil and its productions is particularly important since the olive production represents not only an economic resource, capable of driving the revitalization and diversification of rural areas (Millán et al. 2010c), but it is also a cultural heritage. The activities developed around the olive production safeguard a lifestyle defined by the times, the gestures, the tasks and the habits historically linked to the olive growing (Murgado et al. 2011).
Oleotourism is a practice that contributes to highlighting an emblematic resource for Europe, with a special emphasis on the countries of the Mediterranean basin, receiving the mayor number of consumers interested in this type of resource.
From a tourism marketing perspective, olive oil is a strategic resource due to its gastronomic, social, and cultural value, so it is proposed as an attraction with a high experiential potential. In addition, this product represents a unique advantage for the Mediterranean countries, as they are almost the only holders of this heritage worldwide. This aspect provides them with a solid tool for diversification in comparison with other tourism destinations with similar characteristics.
According to Murgado et al. (2011), olive oil is a product that has the potential to define the tourism image of a geographical area, such as the Mediterranean, in the international market. This potential is of essential importance if one considers that destination image is one of the most influential elements in the tourists’ decision process. Likewise, defining the tourism image of a territory is a complex task. It requires multiple factors: the presence of elements capable of giving content to the territorial image, their uniqueness in comparison with other destinations with similar resources and the definition of a winning strategy for market positioning.
In this sense, the Mediterranean basin is, in fact, the only place in the world that can count on secular olive groves, in production since the time of the Roman Empire and, therefore, has in olive oil an element capable of positioning and differentiate this geographical area in the international tourism markets. However, it should be noted that in other areas of the planet, with a similar climatic conditions, the cultivation of the olive grove is being imported and rooted, which can become a potential threat for the olive-growing areas of the Mediterranean basin and for tourism destinations that focus on this resource their differentiation strategy (Alonso 2010; Alonso and Krajsic 2013; Northcote and Alonso 2011).
From the perspective of the demand, Oleotourism contributes to the development of a set of activities in line with the current desires of the tourist consumers. Tourists who travel with a gastronomic interest are characterized by two issues:
1) They are increasingly interested in resources and heritages that provide them with experiences, emotions, authenticity, learning (Opaschowski 2001) and the possibility of contributing to the sustainability of the territory and the communities of the destination they visit (Millán et al. 2014a);
2) They seek that the food they consume, both on the trip and in their daily diet, can improve their health and well-being (Lin 2014).
In this sense, gastronomy and typical agrofood products are resources strictly linked to the territories, capable of highlighting their local identity and of being modulated into integral, attractive and well-structured tourism proposals (Dallen and Amos 2013).
The activities offered in the framework of olive oil tourism contribute to the dissemination of a fascinating theoretical and practical knowledge that adds value, not only to the trip, but also to tourists’ life in general. Consumers can learn about a food that is consumed on a daily basis, in the case of tourists coming from Mediterranean countries, or that represents a great attraction, for those coming from other areas of the world, with culinary cultures in which the use of other vegetable or animal fats is prevalent over extra virgin olive oil.
Like other tourism proposals based on agrofood products, Oleotourism activities allow sensory, tangible and participatory contact with the resource. The possibility of learning through the concrete implication in the olive harvesting activities, its elaboration and transformation in oil, its use and application in the kitchen and its tasting are all necessary preconditions for an Oleotourism visit to generate a deep and direct knowledge for consumers. This will possibly act as a determining factor in their future purchase or travel decisions.
The review of the literature is the necessary step to support any investigation. Its elaboration allows knowing and ordering existing knowledge about a specific theme on which it is intended to make a contribution. In this work the technique of content analysis is used to analyse the material found about Oleotourism and to summarise and classify it in general themes. Bigné (1999) defines content analysis a suitable technique to recollect, classify and analyse all the information of the contributions identified through literature review, following an objective, systematic and quantitative process. This technique allows the proper systematization of the theoretical body, identifying main themes, issues and research gaps. Content analysis has been developed by carrying out a detailed reading and understanding of all the sources and contributions identified and related with the touristic use of olive oil resources. It gave the authors the chance to have a general vision of the published literature and to categorize all the materials into broad themes: the Oleotourism demand, supply and potential. In this way it was possible to obtain a qualitative and quantitative knowledge of all the published material, identify the most used methodologies and discover new research opportunities.
In recent years there has been a pushing interest in olive oil, which has been reflected in an increase of scientific contributions on this subject from different areas of knowledge such as rural development, agricultural policies, environmental conservation, the agrofood sector and also tourism.
The present work aims at highlighting the acceptance that the topic of Oleotourism has received in scientific publications, with a special reference to the contributions identified in journals pertaining to the field of tourism marketing and management. In order to meet this objective, a literature review has been carried out including all those works that deal specifically with the tourist use of the olive oil heritage, which comprises the landscapes, productions, oils, old and modern industrial facilities, knowledge related to the olive world, myths and legends, gastronomy, in short, everything that can be identified as a potential resource.
Keywords used for the search have been identified in: Olive oil tourism, Oleotourism, Olive tourism, olive-based agrotourism. The search has been performed both in English and Spanish in the two most renewed scientific databases: Wos and Scopus.
The results obtained have been completed with a cross-reference process starting from the references’ section of the articles obtained with the web search.
A total of 52 documents have been identified. They represent the theoretical background considered to develop the bibliometric and content analysis detailed in the following section.
3. RESULTS: BIBLIOMETRIC AND CONTENT ANALYSIS
In total, 52 documents have been identified, which are detailed in Table 1 below. The bibliographic body is composed of 43 articles published in scientific journals, 2 publications in conference proceedings (Quesada el al., 2010, Rojas and García, 2007), 2 doctoral theses (Agudo 2010; Ruiz 2010), and 5 books or book chapters (Calzati and De Salvo, 2017; Hernández et al. 2016; Murgado 2013; Murgado et al. 2011; Martín et al. 2010).
The literature identified has been classified according to its thematic approach. Specifically, all the contributions fall into three outstanding categories: 1) Studies on Oleotourism demand; 2) Studies on Oleotourism supply; 3) Studies on Oleotourism potential and SWOT analysis.
Source: Own Elaboration
3.1. Bibliometric analysis
Table 1 shows the recent interest that the scientific literature has had in the subject of Oleotourism, being 2010 the year with the highest number of contributions. The journals that have received studies on olive oil tourism are very varied, with a significant number of publications: Tourism Journals, Tourism and Management Studies, International Journal of World Tourism, Journal of Tourism and Development and Cuadernos de Desarollo Rural (Bogotá).
Researches on Oleotourism have been largely accepted in journals of tourism marketing and management. However, journals pertaining to other areas of knowledge have also showed a certain interest in the topic. Thus, contributions on olive oil tourism can be found in fields such as agrofood (British Food Journal, Agrarian World, Agricultural Human Value, Agricultural Studies), regional studies and local development (Restma, Revista de Estudios Regionales) or geography (Revista de Geografia Norte Grande), which confirms the transversal importance of this tourist practice, the multiple impacts it can generate and the choral interest that exists around its correct development.
With regard to methodologies, it should be noted that the mayor part of the researches conducted so far adopt an exploratory approach. They focus on the study of the supply and the demand of Oleotourism and apply both quantitative and qualitative methods.
The methodological focus that prevails is the direct survey to tourists who are practicing activities related to olive oil and to professionals from the olive and tourism sector (López-Guzmán et al. 2016; Marchini et al. 2016; Millán et al. 2010a, 2010b; Millán and Pérez 2014, among others).
Likewise, several studies evaluate the potential of Oleotourism, taking into account different factors such as the presence of quality brands for olive oil such as Product Designation of Origins (PDOs), volumes of production, the existence of initiatives and tourism products among oil producers, etc. (Campón et al. 2017; López-Guzmán and González-Fernández 2011; Murgado 2013). Other studies use the SWOT analysis as a diagnostic tool for this tourism practice in order to know all its facets and develop a better planning of its development (Millán et al. 2010c, 2015; Ruiz et al. 2011; Quesada et al. 2010, among others).
The scientific literature published so far has also allowed the identification of universities and academics that have in olive oil tourism one of their main research lines. The following names stand out by number of contributions: Agudo, E.M., Cañero, P., López-Guzmán, T., Millán, M.G., Moral, S., Morales, E.J., of the University of Córdoba, Spain; Orgaz, F., from the Technological University of Santiago, Dominican Republic; Alonso, A. D., of the University of Western Sydney, Australia; Campón, A.M., Di-Clemente, E., Folgado, J.A., Hernández, J.M., of the University of Extremadura, Spain.
Currently, the most recurrent geographical scopes for researches on oleotourism are the Spanish and Australian olive groves, although it is necessary to identify a focus of work also in Italy thanks to the contributions of De Salvo, P., Marchini, A., Riganelli, C. and Diotallevi, F., of the University of Perugia.
The first scientific studies on oleotourism date back to 2006 (Matos 2006). However, it is since 2010 when the publications on tourism and olive oil begin to increase, both in quantity and quality, and to constitute a consistent body of literature.
From the first published articles, two geographic zones are identified in the world maps that seem to have a special link with the olive oil production and its potential use for tourism purposes. These are the Mediterranean basin, with a special reference to Spain, and Australia, specifically the olive-growing areas of the west. Despite the fact that the Mediterranean countries are the ones that have, at a global level, the stronger historical connection with olive oil and the maximum interest in the touristic use of this heritage, the first scientific contributions focused on enhancing the union between the world olive oil and tourism come from Australia (Alonso 2010; Alonso and Northcote 2010). Among the studies carried out in Spain, stand out those focusing on the southern territories of the country, in the provinces of Andalusia. This is due to the fact that this is the region where most of the olive oil present in the world’s market is grown and produced (Moral et al. 2014).
The following subsections present the content analysis of the literature, organized according to the three thematic categories identified: demand, supply and potentiality. It should be noted that some articles pertain to more than one category (i.e. supply and demand); therefore, their discussion will be addressed under both approaches.
3.2. Content analysis
3.2.1. The demand approach: profile of olive oil tourists
According to De Salvo et al. (2013) the binomial between typical gastronomic products and tourism development is marking a change in the tourism markets and in the tastes and expectations of consumers.
In the case of incipient tourism practices such as Oleotourism, in order to draw a successful development strategy, it is necessary to keep a watchful eye on the current and potential demand of this type of product. Demand studies allow knowing the target consumer, interpreting their wishes and expectations and, based on this, developing coherent offers and attractive tourism proposals for the market. Table 2 shows the contributions that carry out studies on the demand side, providing the oleotourists’ profile.
|Authors/year||Title of the contribution||Brief description|
|Millán et al. 2018||Oleotourism as a Sustainable Product: An Analysis of Its Demand in the South of Spain (Andalusia).||Profiles Oleotourists in order to draw a sustainable product that best suits to the demand.|
|Moral et al. 2017||Motivación y satisfacción de los oleoturistas en España. El caso de Andalucía. [Motivation and satisfaction of oleotourists in Spain. A case study in the region of Andalusia].||Analyses the tourists’ satisfaction and motivation in the field of olive tourism in Andalusia (Spain).|
|Calzati and De Salvo, 2017||Il ruolo degli eventi gastronomici nella promozione e valorizzazione dei territori rurali. Il caso di Frantoi Aperti in Umbria. [The role of gastronomic events in the promotion and enhancement of rural territories. The case of Frantoi Aperti in Umbria]||Analyses the demand of olive oil tourist products focusing on thematic events as success strategies for olive-growing areas.|
|Orgaz et al. 2017||Estudio de la demanda existente en torno al Oleoturismo. El caso de Andalucía. [The demand of Oleotourism. A case study in the region of Andalusia].||Carries out a study about the profile, activities, motivations, evaluations and levels of satisfaction of oleotourists in Andalusia.|
|López-Guzmán et al. 2016||An exploratory study of olive tourism consumers.||Analyses the tourist who travel to get to know the production of olive oil. Is one of the first studies to be carried out in an important destination for olive tourism in Europe.|
|Marchini et al. 2016||The success factors of food events: The case study of Umbrian extra virgin olive oil.||The aim of the study is to identify the complexity of the factors that determine the success of a food event such as “open oil mills” in the Umbria region (Italy). Results are useful for management decisions and organization of food and wine.|
|Sabbatini et al. 2016||Tourists’ behavioural analysis on olive oil consumption: empirical results.||Attempts to explore the olive oil preferences of tourists in the island of Crete. Profiles the tourist who decides to buy olive oil, demonstrating that the country of origin and time spent at the destination are the most important drivers.|
|Cañero et al. 2015||Analysis of demand of olive tourism in Andalusia.||Analyses tourism olive oil from the point of view of demand, by knowing the motivation and satisfaction of visitors to museums, interpretive centres and olive oil mills in Andalusia.|
|Morales et al. 2015||Una aproximación al perfil del oleoturista en las denominaciones de origen de Córdoba (España). [An approach to the profile of the oleotourist in the denominations of origin of Córdoba (Spain)].||This paper presents the profile and satisfaction of the oleotourists visiting the olive oil PDOs of Cordoba (Andalusia). The results are useful to develop a quality products based on olive oils.|
|Millán et al. 2014b||Análisis de la oferta y la demanda del turismo gastronómico en Andalucía. [Demand and supply analysis for culinary tourism in Andalusia].||The demand and supply of gastronomic tourism in Andalusia is analysed, in relation to gastronomic routes linked to PDO and PGI.|
|Millán and Pérez 2014||Comparación del perfil de enoturistas y oleoturistas en España. Un estudio de caso. [Comparisons between wine tourists and olive oil tourists in Spain. A case study].||Shows a comparison between enotourists and oleotourists in routes of the province of Córdoba (Spain), in order to examine the commercialization opportunities between the two groups. Wine, olive oil and tourism could work together to promote rural development.|
|Millán et al. 2012||Análisis del turismo gastronómico en la provincia de Córdoba. [Analysis of culinary tourism in the province of Cordoba].||Determines the profile of food tourists in the province of Córdoba (Spain) and the existing supply thereof. Results show that the professionalization of the sector is necessary and that this type of tourism can generate additional income to farmers and create employment in olive grove areas.|
|Millán et al. 2011||Análisis de la oferta y la demanda de oleoturismo en el sur de España: un estudio de caso. [Analysis of supply and demand of oleoturism in Southern Spain: a case study].||Analysing its demand, this study shows how Oleotourism can help implementing strategies for the generation of new jobs, and wealth for rural areas.|
|Ruiz et al. 2011||
El oleoturismo como atractivo turístico en el medio rural español.
[Oleotourism as a tourist attraction in Spanish rural areas].
|A study involving 15 countries is developed in order to investigate the degree of acceptance that Oleotourism practices would have across the Spanish olive oil industry.|
Nuevas modalidades de turismo en un entorno rural enoturismo y oleoturismo. Análisis del perfil del consumidor de turismo gastronómico.
[New modalities of tourism in a rural environment, wine tourism and olive oil tourism. Analysis of the profile of the consumer of gastronomic tourism].
|Studies the enotourists and oleotourists profiles in order to outline a proper offer in rural regions and enhance the development of these areas through tourists’ satisfaction and loyalty strategies.|
|Martín et al. 2010||Mercantilización de productos milenarios con innovaciones del siglo XXI. Oleoturismo. [Commodification of ancient products with innovations of the XXI century. Oleotourism].||Olive oil is a food product, which by its nature transcends mere food. Thus, it can be created an industry devoted to tourists and capable of enhancing the Olive Oil value, and of creating a new channel for marketing olive oil products.|
|Millán et al. 2010a||El oleoturismo como motor de desarrollo rural. La denominación de origen de montoro-adamuz. [Olive oil tourism as motor of rural development. The Montoro-Adamuz designation of origin].||This research analyses the level of development of tourist activities related to the olive oil and area designated with the PDO Montoro-Adamuz with the aim of getting a major knowledge of its consumer profile.|
|Millán et al. 2010b||Olive oil Tourism as a vehicle for rural development in the province of Cordoba.||The study develops an analysis of supply and demand of three olive oil routes in the province of Córdoba. The results show that oleotourists are different form enotourists and that specific actions should be implemented in order to enhance this new practice which is an opportunity for the development of rural areas.|
|Millán and Agudo 2010||El turismo gastronómico y las denominaciones de origen en el sur de España: Oleoturismo. Un estudio de caso. [Culinary tourism and designations of origin in Southern Spain: Oleotourism. A case study].||The study analyses the supply and demand of olive oil tourism related to the PDO Priego de Crodoba and its geographical area of production.|
|Ruiz 2010||Análisis cuantitativo y cualitativo del significado del aceite de oliva. Una aproximación desde el punto de vista del consumidor. [Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the significance of olive oil. A consumer approach].||From the consumer perspective this doctoral dissertation shows the value of olive oil as a tourist resource.|
Source: Own Elaboration
In general, most of the authors agree that the oleotourist is a visitor of rural areas, due to the fact that the resources of this tourist practice are usually placed in these geographical areas. However, some authors (Hernández et al. 2016a; López-Guzmán et al. 2016; Sánchez and Ortega 2016) point out that the specialization in olive-oil based tourism products is no longer a prerogative of rural destinations, since many cultural cities are offering tourism experiences focused on highlighting the cultural and sensory content of gastronomy and typical productions such as EVOO. This consideration leads to broaden the characterization of the oleotourist, taking into account cultural profiles, that is, those travellers who choose cultural and heritage cities as a destination of their trips.
Despite this nuance, at present, the largest number of proposals for Oleotourism comes from the rural areas that represent the research scenario chosen by most of the studies carried out so far (i.e. Calzati and De Salvo, 2017; Millám and Agudo, 2010; Millán et al., 2010a, 2010b, 2011; Ruiz et al., 2011).
Although the research developed is very diverse in terms of contexts and objectives, it is possible to identify some common elements that allow figuring out the socio-demographic profile of the oleotourists.
In general, it is a consumer with an age between 50 and 60 years or more. Their level of income and education are placed at medium-high levels. Provenance is a variable data, however it can be highlighted that in the studies carried out in Spain, it is mainly a national tourism (Moral et al. 2017), while in the studies developed in other areas of Europe, such as Greece (Sabbatini et al. 2016), a significant interest in Oleotourism products is detected in tourists coming from northern Europe, specifically from the Scandinavian countries.
In terms of stay, these tourists usually stay less than 24 hours in the olive-growing areas, making it clear that Oleotourism is considered as a complementary activity to others tourism practices such as cultural or sun-and-beach tourism (Orgaz et al. 2017; López-Guzmán et al. 2016).
With regard to the tourists’ motivations, it is worth noting the contributions of Orgaz et al. (2017) that relate the tourists’ socio-demographic characterizations with the interest they may have in Oleotourism products. According to the authors, the characteristics of the place of origin, religion, sex, education, standard of living and availability of food in the destination are the main factors that influence the motivations of tourists. These results are in line with the conclusions reached by Sabbatini et al. (2016) who see in the Scandinavian markets the greatest potential for olive oil tourism. Travellers from these areas, due to the shortage or high prices of EVOO in their countries of origin, are the most interested in practicing olive oil tourism when traveling to producing areas such as Greece, and the most inclined to buy olive oil during their travels.
Some interesting characterizations come from the works of Ruiz et al. (2011) that develop a study to know the disposition of modern consumers towards Oleotourism products. Their results show that more than 60% of their sample has declared to be interested in the possibility of living an Oleotourism experience along their trips.
On the other hand Millán et al. (2010a) identify the seasonality of tourist products based on olive oil. Specifically, they point out that the greatest influx of tourists is recorded during the Christmas festivities and during Holy Week and other national holidays such as the 1st of May and the 6th of December.
Finally, Agudo (2010) carries out a comparative study between wine tourism and olive oil, highlighting that these are different profiles. The first is characterized by having a greater purchasing power and older age with respect to the second.
The studies carried out so far facilitate the identification of the consumer of Oleotourism practices, however the present review of the literature detects the absence of studies that go beyond detailing the profile of individuals who are practicing oleoturismo activities, delving into the potential values that the tourist expects to receive and that must be incorporated into this practice so that it can become a main motivation for the trip and also represent a tourist typology capable of attracting flows that stay more than one day or few hours at the olive oil destination.
3.2.2. The supply approach for Oleotourism.
A significant part of the scientific literature about Oleotourism focuses on the analysis of the existing offer of this type of resource and on the disposition of the agents that operate in the olive sector to take advantage of the potential synergies that can result from its union with the tourism sector.
Table 3 below shows the studies that have addressed the issue of Oleotourism from the supply’s perspective.
|Authors/year||Title of the contribution||Brief description|
|Alonso, 2010||Olives, hospitality and tourism: a Western Australian perspective.||Examines the value of olive oil form tourism and hospitality perspective in an emerging olive-growing region: Western Australia, using a qualitative approach.|
|Alonso and Krajsic, 2013||Food heritage down under: olive growers as Mediterranean ‘food ambassadors.||Shows how olive groves owners in Australia with a Mediterranean background are contributing to increase knowledge, consumption, and preservation of the olive oil food culture.|
|Alonso and Northcote, 2010||The Development of Olive Tourism in Western Australia: A Case Study of an Emerging Tourism Industry.||The present study examines the dimensions of the olive oil niche market which is emergent in Western Australia. The results show that the connection between olive oil and hospitality is beneficial for rural areas.|
|Campón et al., 2014||Olive oil tourism in Southern Europe: Proposal for tourism development of olive grove rural areas.||Focuses on highlighting the tourist potential of olive oil.|
|De Salvo et al., 2013||Territory, Tourism and Local products. The extra virgin oil enhancement and Promotion: a Benchmarking Italy-Spain.||Explores how extra virgin olive oil assigns value to identity, social capital and indigenous cultural heritage and contributes to a distinctive tourism development.|
|Hernández et al., 2016a||Aceite de oliva virgen: Saber y Sabor de Extremadura. [Extra virgin olive oil: knowledge and tastes of Extremadura].||It presents a list of resources linked with the olive oil culture in the Spanish region of Extremadura and their potential to turn into the main elements of new tourist routes and products.|
|Millán et al., 2011||Análisis de la oferta y la demanda de oleoturismo en el sur de España: un estudio de caso. [Analysis of supply and demand of Oleotourism in Southern Spain: a case study].||Analyses the current supply system for olive-based proposal in order to test its adequacy with regard to the expectations of modern oleotourists.|
|Millán et al., 2015||El oleoturismo: una alternativa para preservar los paisajes del olivar y promover el desarrollo rural y regional de Andalucía (España). [Oleotourism: an alternative to preserve the landscapes of the olive grove and promote the rural and regional development of Andalusia (Spain)].||Shows how the diversity of landscapes generated by olive groves is a suitable framework for tourism initiatives which seek to foster the multifunctional facets of olive plantations.|
|Millán et al., 2017||Olive oil tourism: Promoting rural development in Andalusia (Spain).||Conducts a research by the side of producers, to determine their involvement and interest in the activation of new tourism initiatives based on olive oil.|
|Millán et al., 2010b||Olive oil Tourism as a vehicle for Rural Development in the Province of Córdoba.||The study develops an analysis of supply and demand of three olive oil routes in the province of Córdoba.|
|Millán et al., 2012||Análisis del turismo gastronómico en la provincia de Córdoba. [Analysis of culinary tourism in the province of Cordoba].||Analyses olive oil in the province of Córdoba as a new element of tourism supply attracting tourists flows with a special interest in gastronomic heritages.|
|Millán et al., 2010d||La ruta del aceite de oliva en la DOP Baena como opción estratégica de desarrollo. [The olive oil route in the Baena PDO as strategic option for local development].||Explores the Olive Oil Route of Baena PDO as a strategic tool for tourism development.|
|Millán and Agudo, 2010||El turismo gastronómico y las denominaciones de origen en el Sur de España: Oleoturismo. Un estudio de caso. [Culinary tourism and designations of origin in Southern Spain: Oleotourism. A case study].||
The study analyses the PDO Priego de Crodoba and the tourism offer associated in its geographical area of production.
|Northcote and Alonso, 2011||Factors underlying farm diversification: the case of Western Australia’s olive farmers.||Through an exploratory qualitative study, this research outlines the factors that olive farmers in Western Australia take into account when considering diversification into tourism services.|
|Rojas and García, 2007||Estado actual de los museos y centros de interpretación de la cultura del olivar y el aceite de oliva. Propuestas de mejora. [Current state of the museums and interpretation centres about olive oil culture. Proposals for improvement]||Presents and compares the current status of Olive Oil Museums in the Mediterranean basin, with a special attention to the way used to expand and disseminate their content.|
|Ruiz, 2011||Olive oil as a tourist resource: conceptual boundaries.||Examines the importance of olive oil tourism as a new source of earning for rural areas specialised in this grove.|
|Sánchez and Ortega, 2016||El monocultivo olivarero jiennense: conformación histórica, valores patrimoniales y proyección cultural-turística. [The Jaen olive oil monoculture: historical conformation, patrimonial values and cultural-tourist projection].||Analyses the capacity that olives has had to generate heritage. It presents the initiatives undertaken to promote the cultural values of olive oil in the areas where this grove is a monoculture as Jaen (Spain).|
|Žužić, 2014||Developing special – interest tourism offerings in the Istria region.||Presents oleotourism as a special interest activity for diversification and qualification of the tourism sector in the Istria region (Croatia).|
Source: Own Elaboration
The literature on the supply of Oleotourism is mainly dedicated to highlighting, on the one hand, the importance of the tourist use of olive oil products for its better commercialization and as a complement to agricultural activity (Northcote and Alonso 2011; Millán et al. 2010a, 2010b, 2011, 2012, 2017; Millán and Agudo 2010; Molina et al. 2011; Ruiz 2011) and, on the other, the need to recover and value an abundant heritage that has been generated around olive production and that represents a social and cultural legacy that is an expression of the idiosyncrasy of the Mediterranean peoples (Millán et al. 2015; Rojas and García 2007).
According to Millán et al. (2011), olive oil tourism can be an engine of development for rural areas that have in this crop its main economic resource.
Oleotourism, through the diversification of agricultural activity, identifies a new market niche that has the potential to strengthen the agricultural sector and the weak rural economies (Northcote and Alonso 2011).
Olive oil is a product with a value that goes beyond its nutritional importance (Quesada et al. 2010). Its rich cultural, historical and social content makes it possible to create around olive oil a system of tourism attraction that accomplish the objective of opening a new marketing channel for olive oil producers, in addition to diversifying the agricultural income (Molina et al. 2011).
Millán et al. (2017) consider Oleotourism as a valuable opportunity to reach groups of specific clients, sensitive to the tangible and intangible value of this product. However, the authors emphasise that in order for Oleotourism to be a successful practice, it is necessary to draw an integrated systems of routes developed by a plurality of local agents. In this aspect lie both the main attractiveness and the difficulty of the development of tourism proposals linked to olive oil production.
Millán and Agudo (2010) consider Oleotourism as an expression of gastronomic tourism that, together with the current interest of consumers in incorporating certified and quality food into their diets, is a key tool to position typical foods in national and international markets.
Millán et al. (2015) propose Oleotourism as an alternative to preserve the landscapes of the olive grove and take advantage of them from a sustainable and multifunctional perspective.
However, olive oil tourism can get to really represent a support to the weak agricultural rents, only with a significant effort in formation of the producers in tourism service delivery and by raising their awareness about the real economic viability of the tourist initiatives linked to the olive oil. In this line, some studies (Murgado 2013; Orgaz et al. 2017) show the need to implement a service culture in rural areas in order to offer to tourists an adequate set of services in line with their expectations and needs.
Another approach to analysing the importance of promoting the supply system for olive oil tourism is the educational one, promoted by Alonso and his colleagues (Alonso 2010; Alonso and Northcote 2010; Alonso and Krajsic 2013). Although minor and incipient, this approach treats Oleotourism as a necessary practice to educate the consumer about traditional gastronomic cultures and consumption habits defined by knowledge and quality. This brings about a new set of considerations that intend oleotourism not only as a strategy to obtain a new economic impulse for the olive-growing zones, but also as a practice with a social and cultural value. The authors propose the educational approach as a management philosophy of oleotouristic activities and as a marketing strategy for gourmet products that, if positioned only in the traditional sales channels (i.e. supermarkets), are exposed to lose all their intangible value, with a consequent decrease in its commercial value. The experiences based in olive oil, however, are tool capable of presenting the product to the consumer in all its value: tangible (organoleptic qualities, quantities, bottled, etc.) and intangible (philosophy of work, people, knowledge, methods, involvement in the production process, traditions).
3.2.3. Analysis of the potential of Oleotourism.
Oleotourism is a relatively recent practice. Due to this, some authors have focused their attention on highlighting the potential that this type of tourism has, with a special reference to the positive repercussions that the destinations, the societies and the economies of the olive-growing areas could experience when betting on this tourism specialization.
In the scientific literature, the tourism potential of olive oil is mainly approached from the perspective of rural development (Millán et al. 2014a). However, Murgado (2013) and Murgado et al. (2011) propose an original point of view considering EVOO, on the one hand, as a potential tool to generate new strategies for tourism positioning and image diversification and, on the other hand, as an option to facilitate the creation of tourism products with greater experiential and sensory value, in response to the new expectations of current tourism demand. Thus, two new approaches for the study of the tourism potential of olive oil can be identified: experientiality and strategic positioning.
Table 4 below shows the existing contributions in the current literature that highlight the potential of olive oil tourism under one of the three approaches mentioned.
With regard to the rural development approach, olive oil tourism is mainly analysed for its capacity to strengthen rural economies, through agrotourism practices developed within a novel tourism typology. Oleotourism provide positive links between tourism and the revitalization of the rural areas, the conservation of the environment and the protection of the social heritages of these territories (Arikan-Saltik 2017; Arikan-Saltik and Çeken 2018; Campón et al. 2014; Hernández et al. 2016b; Millán et al. 2014a).
The experiential perspective (Murgado 2013) highlights the intangible value of EVOO and the olive-growing culture as elements capable of attracting a new class of consumers attracted by the sensoriality of food and interested in learning and knowing local products as the main motivation of their trip.
Finally, Murgado et al. (2011) focus on olive oil tourism as a successful tool for achieving the positioning of destinations strongly linked to the olive-growing culture, as is the case of Jaen, the city where the authors develop their research. The authors propose Oleotourism as an opportunity to define a territorial brand and, in the possibility of achieving this objective, recognize the great potential of this new tourism practice.
|Authors/year||Title of the contribution||Brief description|
|Arikan-Saltik, 2017||Initiative activities of olive oil tourism: a case from Turkey.||Investigates the critical success factors in olive oil tourism and the basic features of an olive oil tourism enterprise, through a case study.|
|Arikan-Saltik and Çeken, 2018||New trends in agrotourism: olive oil tourism.||Considers Oleotourism as an innovative expression of agritourism. It examines the potential of this practice for olive-growing areas.|
|Tregua et al., 2018||Oleotourism: Local Actors for Local Tourism Development||Performs a qualitative analysis with actors involved in the industry in Jaén. The results define the stakeholders’ involvement, sustainability, opportunities, and constraints of oleotourism in this area.|
|Calzati and De Salvo, 2017||Il ruolo degli eventi gastronomici nella promozione e valorizzazione dei territori rurali. Il caso di Frantoi aperti in Umbria.||Analyses the demand of olive oil tourist products focusing on thematic events as success strategies for olive-growing areas.|
|Campón et al., 2014||Olive oil tourism in Southern Europe: Proposals for tourism development of olive grove rural areas.||Focuses on highlighting the tourist potential of olive oil.|
|Hernández et al., 2016b||Oleoturismo en la Sierra de Gata y Las Hurdes (Cáceres): Analysis de su potencial a través de un test de producto. [Oleoturismo in the Sierra de Gata and Las Hurdes (Cáceres, Spain): Analysis of its potential through a product test].||Focuses on analyzing the degree of interest that olive oil tourism generates in potential targets, as well as assessing the potential of those tourism initiatives based on olive oil in the north of Cáceres (Spain).|
|Kizos and Vakoufaris, 2011||Valorisation of a local asset: The case of olive oil on Lesvos Island, Greece.||Examines three different olive oil products: PGI, organic and conventional olive oil as potential tourism resource. It uses two dimensions: size of production and success of the producers.|
|López-Guzmán and González-Fernández, 2011||Socioeconomic development in rural areas through the creation of tourist routes: An olive tourism approach in the Jaen province (Spain).||Analyses how olive oil can be the main attractor for tourists to a given area.|
|Millán et al., 2010c||Oil-tourism in the South-east of Spain: The necessity of coordinating the tourist activity with the agrarian one for the development of the rural areas.||Highlights that the rural sector is not only a space that supports the foodstuffs production, but it has become a multifunctional territory, where combination with tourism can be beneficial and necessary for the development of olive oil tourism.|
|Millán et al., 2015||
El oleoturismo: una alternativa para preservar los paisajes del olivar y
promover el desarrollo rural y regional de Andalucía (España). [Oleotourism: an alternative to preserve the landscapes of the olive grove and promote rural and regional development in Andalusia (Spain)].
|Presents olive oil tourism as an alternative for economic diversification in olive-producing areas, contributing to the conservation of olive-growing areas and to the promotion of rural and regional development in Andalusia.|
|Millán et al., 2014a||A new market segment for olive oil: Olive oil tourism in the south of Spain.||Presents the importance of olive-based tourism as a successful strategy for the enhancement of rural economies and development of olive-production areas.|
|Molina et al., 2011||Potencial del oleoturismo como diversificación económica del sector cooperativo agrario: el caso español. [Potential of Oleotourism as an economic diversification of the agricultural cooperative sector: the Spanish case].||Proposes Oleotourism as an effective economic diversification tool for rural areas in Spain.|
|Moral et al., 2014||Una aproximación al oleoturismo en Andalucía, España. [An approach to Oleotourism in Andalusia, Spain].||Explores the potential of Oleotourism as a new thematic tourism typology which can generates significant tourists’ flows to olive producing areas.|
|Murgado, 2013||Turning food into a gastronomic experience: Olive oil tourism.||Through qualitative interviews, offers a series of recommendations to improve olive oil tourism and outline new products and experiences based on this resource.|
|Murgado et al., 2011||El aceite de oliva como elemento nuclear para el desarrollo del turismo.||Presents olive oil as a germane element for the tourism development of olive-growing areas.|
|Quesada et al., 2010||Oleoturismo en España: potencialidad de éxito internacional en escenarios actuales. [Oleotourism in Spain: potential for international success in current scenarios.||Explores the degree of acceptance of Oleotourism in the international tourism industry. It uses a sample of 15 countries to collect primary data on current tourism trends.|
|Radhouane, 2015||Evolución histórica del cultivo del olivo, desarrollo local y oleoturismo. [Historical evolution of olive groves, local development and olive oil tourism].||Demonstrates the importance of Oleotourism in fostering those economies based on this crop.|
|Ruiz et al., 2012||Los intangibles del Aceite de Oliva como ventaja competitiva. [The intangibles of olive oil as a competitive advantage].||Highlights the intangible value of olive oil beyond its alimentary importance. This can help the elaboration of new diversification strategies for the tourism destination of the olive-growing areas.|
|Ruiz et al., 2011||El oleoturismo como atractivo turístico en el medio rural español [Oleoturismo as a tourist attraction in rural Spain]||A study involving 15 countries is developed in order to investigate the degree of acceptance that Oleotourism practices would have across the Spanish olive oil industry.|
|Ruiz, 2011||Olive oil as a tourist resource: conceptual boundaries.||Examines the importance of olive oil tourism as a new source of earning for rural areas specialised in this grove.|
|Ruiz, 2010||Análisis cualitativo y cuantitativo del significado del aceite de oliva. Una aproximación desde el punto de vista del consumidor. [Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the meaning of olive oil. An approach from the consumer’s perspective].||From the consumer perspective this doctoral dissertation shows the value of olive oil as a tourist resource.|
|Sánchez and Ortega, 2016||El monocultivo olivarero jiennense: conformación histórica, valores patrimoniales y proyección cultural-turística. [The olive monoculture of Jaen (Spain): historical conformation, patrimonial values and cultural-tourist projection].||Analyses the capacity that olives has had to generate heritage.|
Source: Own Elaboration
Beyond the specific approaches that can be found in the scientific literature about Oleotourism, it should be noted that some authors (Millán et al. 2010c, 2015; Moral et al. 2014; Ruiz et al. 2011) have evaluated the tourism potential of olive oil through a SWOT analysis, a simple and effective diagnostic tool that informs about the main strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and critical aspects that this tourism typology presents for olive-growing areas.
Table 5 below shows the main internal and external factors, as well as positive and negative elements that influence the development of Oleotourism.
Among the main weaknesses of Oleotourism, it has to be stressed the absence of some elements that are a necessary condition for its development and success. These are the lack of professionalism of rural agents for diversification of their main activity into tourism; infrastructures, often scarce both in terms of quantity and quality; the difficulty of conditioning agricultural facilities, such as oil mills, for tourist uses, due to the high costs involved; the lack of marketing actions and integral development strategy for Oleotourism. Among the strengths, it should be noted that Oleotourism is a tourism typology on the rise. From a tourism perspective, it is a practice in line with the new concerns of tourism demand, increasingly interested in experiential and sensory activities, linked to gastronomy and authentic heritage. From an agricultural or rural development perspective, Oleotourism contributes to strengthening local economies through its diversification, which can generate important inputs for local communities. It is also a tourism typology compatible with others more consolidated ones, such as sun-and-beach, cultural or natural tourism and that therefore contributes to extend the stay of tourists in a destination and expand the territorial area in which the traveller makes his spending.
Regarding the analysis of the exogenous factors that influence Oleotourism, the main threats are related to the deterioration of the natural heritage of the olive-growing areas as a consequence of their uncontrolled use or their excessive exploitation in response to the needs of the tourist demand. The opportunities to undertake and encourage this tourist practice are multiple. Oleotourism, through the diversification of rural economies, makes the olive-growing zones an attractive employment sector for younger generations, since it contributes to increasing the average income and quality of life of these territories. The enhancement of EVOO through tourism initiatives favours its qualification and the creation of products with a better brand image and, therefore, may have greater acceptance in the markets. Finally, it should be noted that Oleotourism represents a great opportunity to disseminate a culture of consumption in which quality, traceability, the origin of food and the knowledge of producers are the main elements in the consumers’ decision making process.
This paper represents an original contribution in field of Oleotourism as it carries out a detailed literature review and a conceptual organization of the contributions published so far about this topic. Other previous works proposed a literature review of the subject (Moral and Orgaz, 2014; Moral et al., 2014), however in the last years the publications about Oleotourism have proliferated (See Table 1), therefore it seemed necessary to complete those works and outline the new State of the Art for Oleotourism. The results achieved offer useful insights into the potential of this tourism typology, its beneficial impacts for olive-growing areas, its strategic role for rural areas and its future development in the international tourism markets.
The contributions analysed in this literature review offer the chance to identify same gaps in Oleotourism strategies and concrete initiatives that should be taken into considerations in order to outline future paths of development and work. Among the most remarkable there is the complexity of turning EVOO into a tourist product, as it requires a significant effort by local producers, who face the challenge to operate in a new industry: hospitality, whose requirements and rules are different form the ones of their main rural activity. The two spheres of tourism and olive oil production need to find new ways of cooperation and coexistence.
Furthermore, Oleotourism is still considered as an emerging practice. Even if there are several initiatives focused at enhancing the tourist value of EVOO, it is necessary to give more value to olive-oil-based experiences in order to make this product a major attractor for olive-growing areas and a proper proposal for modern tourists. These considerations give birth to some significant conclusions which are exposed in the next paragraph and that allow the identification of future lines of work and research on Oleotourism.
CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH LINE
This work has aimed to conduct an exhaustive literature review to identify and analyse all the contributions that have been published about Oleotourism. The review included national and international publications identifying a theoretical body of 50 documents. Most of them are journal articles, although books, book chapters, doctoral theses and conference proceedings are also present. The bibliometric analysis of the documents obtained has made it possible to identify the centres of reference studying olive oil tourism. These are the University of Western Sydney, in Australia and the Universities of Cordoba and Extremadura, in Spain. These countries are the ones giving major attention to this type of tourism and to olive oil resources as strategic tools for the success of tourism development of the olive-growing areas.
The content analysis of the literature on olive oil tourism reveals that the main study focuses have been: the profile of the demand, the analysis of the supply and the assessment of the potential of this tourism practice as a social and economic engine, and as a factor of diversification, especially in rural areas.
It can be concluded that Oleotourism is a typology chosen by a group of consumers with an age between 50 and 60 years, who perform olive-oil-based practices as complementary activities to the visit of rural or, in more prominent cases, cultural destinations. In general, according to the results of Ruiz et al. (2011), tourists show that they are interested in carrying out Oleotourism activities throughout their travels, which demonstrates the viability of these tourism proposals for the olive-growing areas.
With regard to the supply, it is clear that the Mediterranean territories are the most willing to define tourism initiatives about the olive oil culture, since it represents a unique heritage through which its identity, its history and its oldest traditions are defined. However, despite the legacy that the Mediterranean countries have with the EVOO, it should be noted that other regions of the world are contributing strongly to the development of this tourism practice, seeking to position themselves in the international tourist markets with this specialization. In fact, not only other olive oil producing areas are being set up worldwide, but these emerging producers are also focusing their activity on the tourism sector, rather than on the agricultural sector. Therefore, the Mediterranean areas, albeit boasting a world record with regard to olive oil production volumes and quality, with respect to their tourism positioning as the best destinations for Oleotourism practices, could have in other regions of the world, such as Australia (Alonso 2010), valid competitors.
With respect to the potential of Oleotourism, the scientific literature is especially focused on highlighting the positive impacts that this tourism practice has on rural areas, as an element of diversification for the fragile agricultural economies.
In addition, the literature on Oleotourism highlights the cultural and educational value of this practice. At the cultural level, it is a tourism practice that favours the safeguarding of a unique and central heritage for social, human and cultural development of the Mediterranean peoples and that under the pressure of globalization and the demands of international markets are exposed to a gradual disappearance. The tourism of the olive oil puts in value these patrimonies and endows them with a new commercial value that allows them to last in time.
From an educational perspective, Oleotourism is a practice capable of sensitising consumers about purchasing preferences driven by the knowledge of the product and the demand for quality. Thus, the tourism practices related to EVOO not only generate positive inputs for the olive-growing areas related to the flows of travellers who visit the destination and carry out activities in the area, but also contribute to qualifying the olive oil industry on the part of both consumers and the producers.
In conclusion, the scientific literature makes it clear that olive oil tourism is asserting itself as a flourishing tourism practice, due to its ability to respond to the new desires of tourism demand, and to represent a valuable opportunity for innovation and diversification for olive destinations.
Future lines of research should focus on identifying the specific expectations that current tourists have about this tourism practice. It would also be interesting to know to what extent, an experience of Oleotourism lived along a trip, contributes to form an awareness of both food and tourism consumption, that leads tourists to change their daily habits, with the purchase of well-known and greater quality olive oils, as well as, repeating the visit to olive-growing destinations or experiences centred in the olive oil in their next trips.
In addition it would be useful to carry out studies aimed at finding out the place that the emerging producing countries occupy in the minds of today's consumers as potential Oleotourism destinations, compared to Mediterranean destinations, traditionally linked to this millenary grove and culture.
Among the limitations of this study, it should be highlighted its theoretical nature. The contributions of this work should find continuity in empirical studies to be able to give rise to significant results for the development of this innovative tourism practice.