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Farmers' markets and tourism: Identifying tensions that arise from balancing dual roles as community events and tourist attractions
journal contributionposted on 21.09.2020, 00:00 by Michelle Thompson
An increasing interest in food tourism, and the need to provide diverse tourism experiences, has provided an opportunity for some farmers' markets to evolve from community events into tourist attractions. While this presents opportunities to develop a larger customer base, it also creates challenges. The aim of this paper is to identify the tensions that may arise when farmers' markets attempt to service their local communities as well as attract tourists. An inductive, explorative approach was adopted and thematic content analysis used to extract qualitative data from 14 semi-structured interviews. The results identified tensions between market stakeholders and consumers, including: stall holders' understanding of tourism; the market experience; mix of stall holders and products available; and the different purchasing habits of local and tourist consumers. Highlighting the significance of target marketing and the range of produce offered, a conceptual model was developed that shows how farmers' markets may transition from community events into tourist attractions. This research contributes to our understanding of how a farmers' market may transition into a tourist attraction and identifies indicators that managers should consider when combining tourism with farmers' markets.