Tourism, Place Branding and the Local-Turn in Food: The New Nordic Cuisine/Tourismus, Place Branding und die Hinwendung zu lokalen Produkten: Die New Nordic Cuisine
Ooi, CS and Strandgaard Pedersen, J, Tourism, Place Branding and the Local-Turn in Food: The New Nordic Cuisine/Tourismus, Place Branding und die Hinwendung zu lokalen Produkten: Die New Nordic Cuisine, Kulinarischer Tourismus und Weintourismus: Culinary and Wine Tourism Conference 2015, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, D Wagner, M Mair, AF Stockl and A Dreyer (ed), Germany, pp. 95-104. ISBN 978-3-658-13731-1 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]
This paper looks at the branding of Copenhagen as food destination through the advent of the New Nordic Cuisine. The New Nordic Cuisine (NNC) offers two destination branding ‘puzzles’. The first puzzle is that a destination brand should accentuate the authenticity and uniqueness of the locality. This allows relevant stakeholders—e.g. attraction managers, tourism promotion authorities, restaurants and tour operators—to frame their tourism services and products, and make their offerings stand-out against those in competing destinations. Branding a destination as part of a ‘bloc’, in this case ‘New Nordic Cuisine’, is counter intuitive especially when members of the region compete with each other for tourists. Furthermore the NNC is a recent invention. The second puzzle is the ‘local-turn’; using local and seasonal produce is the main focus in the NNC. This concept is neither new nor original and can be easily adapted for other places. How does this idea work for destination branding? This paper addresses these two puzzles. Firstly, the case of NNC shows how a vague and ambiguous term like ‘Nordic’ can be a focal-point for local and international audiences. The term remains vague and ambiguous, and means different things to different people. New meanings are inserted into the unclear term, for instance the NNC go-local values are packaged, marketed and celebrated as part of a Nordic-identity. The tourism authorities did not attempt to refine the term but instead perpetuate the broad understanding of the NNC. It is not about communicating an authentic message but a message that resonates with different audiences. Secondly, the brand message issue is not what is authentically or uniquely Danish but what others imagine an authentic and unique Denmark to be. Even though the NNC is a newly invented tradition, visitors can ‘reaffirm’ the imagined authenticity and uniqueness of the destination. They may feel that they have experienced the ‘real’ Copenhagen as a result.