This article discusses the reception of the highly popular documentary television series A Bite of China among potential young domestic travellers. It aims to investigate how this series, and similar food- and culture-themed TV programmes, contributes to regional food-based destination images among the aforementioned class of travellers. The analysis of 15 semi-structured interviews with viewers suggests that the documentary can influence and change viewers’ perceptions of regional cuisine as well as local culture.
Viewers engage in both cinematic and touristic consumption as they interpret the documentary. Credible food images aid the process of building perceptual images that distinguish a destination from other destinations, which in some cases also inspires viewers to actually visit the related destinations or locations. More particularly, this exploratory study shows how these travellers perceive food-based destination images not as an isolated phenomenon, but as an integral part of a broader place-identity.

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Keywords audience reception, Chinese food tourism, destination image, food-themed documentary, media representation
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Journal Tourist Studies
Xu, M, Kim, S, & Reijnders, S.L. (2019). From food to feet: Analysing A Bite of China as food-based destination image. Tourist Studies. doi:10.1177/1468797619888305