Enriching Culinary Tourism: Potential of Area-Based Competition (ABC) for Local Food Product Development

Maha Fallatah and Makio Yamada

Local product development plays a significant role in attracting great numbers of tourists and sustainably creating employment opportunities in local economies. Governments, both central and local, can enact policies to facilitate the development of local products and services that harness distinctive local resources. In our previous commentary, we examined one such policy, the “One Village One Product” movement in Japan, which is characterized by its effective investment in human resources to promote R&D aimed at enhancing the quality of local products and marketing them to wide groups of consumers. The One Village One Product movement, as well as other initiatives for local product development, supported Japan’s rural communities in their transition to a knowledge-based economy, which took place parallel to the transition of urban centers into high-tech hubs, allowing for regionally balanced development. 

Following such initiatives, competition events for these local products began to emerge in Japan in the late 2000s. These competitions for local communities, sometimes referred to as area-based competitions (ABCs), appear to have contributed to the further development and promotion of distinctive local products and greater tourism activities. Thus, this Commentary will examine the dynamics and effects of such competitions, taking the B-1 Grand Prix and its impact on the development and promotion of local food products and culinary tourism as a case study.