Does Chinese tourist taste local and organic food in Finland?

What kind of perceptions of food and locality the Chinese tourists have when visiting Finland? Do they try local food products? Researcher Marjo Särkkä-Tirkkonen presented preliminary results of the study in international conference in Mikkeli.

During their vacation trips, Chinese tourists stay in Finland only a short period of time: only ca. 48 % of the Chinese visiotrs stay over-night. The travelling is often characterized by haste and tight schedules with the objective of seeing as many countries and sights as possible. The stops are often short and the time to spend in one destination is accurately limited by the guide.

  • The tourists we interviewed had seldom time or interest to have a buffet lunch, researcher Marjo Särkkä-Tirkkonen states.

Hence, the researcher suggests that local and organic food should be offered as snack or take-out food for the Chinese travelers.

Naturally, the lack of time affects the choice of food. Most often the familiar and safe choices are preferred, and the internet is used for finding the alternatives beforehand. Finnish food does not stand out from the rest.

The web marketing is therefore especially important to the entrepreneurs. Särkkä-Tirkkonen advices to keep the company websites updated.

  • The most typical keywords were ”most famous” and ”traditional”. With these keywords you might improve your ranking in search results, Särkkä-Tirkkonen encourages.

The interviewees had no particular perception of Finnish food. Organic food production was recognized as small-scale, low-processed way of production. However, the analysis is still in progress. In the future it is interesting to compare the results with the corresponding research conducted with Russian tourists.

  • We interviewed only one focus group. It would be great to have an opportunity to interview different traveller groups and compare their experiences on Finnish organic food, Särkkä-Tirkkonen ends.

15 interviewees participated in separate thematic interviews. The interviews were conducted in Chinese by the native Chinese interviewer. The research will be completed this year.

The research Perception of food and locality among Chinese tourist experiences in Finland was presented in international organic conference held in Mikkeli 19th– 21st of June, 2017. The conference gathered over 90 researchers from 13 countries to discuss the current research topics in organic farming sector.