Enhancing cultural tourism through the development of memorable experiences: the “Food Democracy Museum” as a phygital project

  • Rossella Baratta
  • Angelo Bonfanti
  • Maria Grazia Cucci
  • Francesca Simeoni
Keywords: cultural tourism experience design; social entrepreneurship; digitalization; value co-creation; multi-stakeholder approach; innovation


Frame of the research: Because of increasing global competition and the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism service providers need to understand how cultural tourism can be enhanced locally through the development of memorable cultural tourism experiences.

Purpose of the paper: The study aims to examine how to enhance local cultural tourism through the development of memorable experiences. More specifically, it identifies dimensions and triggers of memorable experiences in cultural tourism from the experience provider’s perspective.

Methodology: The study follows a qualitative approach by means of an in-depth case-study analysis. The Food Democracy Museum (FDM) - a diffused and digital museum aimed at enhancing the cultural heritage of the historical city center of Verona - was examined as a single case study. Interviews with various stakeholders were carried out and analyzed via content analysis by means of the NVivo software.

Findings: The FDM project contributes to developing memorable experiences in cultural tourism through the following dimensions: significance of the experience, authenticity, engagement, cultural exchange, culinary attraction, quality of service, and experience sharing. Social entrepreneurship supports digitalization, value co-creation, and the multi-stakeholder approach as triggers of such experiences.

Research limitations: Limitations include the use of a qualitative research method (single case study) and the sole consideration of the experience provider’s perspective. Thus, any resulting generalizations need to be treated with caution.

Practical implications: Experience has to be enriched with significance, authenticity, engagement, cultural exchange, culinary attraction, quality of service, and sharing both offline and online. SMEs can invest both in staff training to educate employees about aspects of service quality and local cultural tourism, and in technology-which does not need to be expensive.

Originality of the study: The proposed model can be used as a point of reference to improve


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