Responsible Tourism 2

Food for thought & local tourism support

In the last issue, we saw that responsible tourism is about “making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit.” Here we’re going to look at something that can help accomplish both aims at once: buying local. The focus of this article is food, but the same logic applies across the board, to handicrafts and souvenirs, to day trips and longer

excursions. But before whetting your appetite with some Swahili delicacies, let’s take a quick look at why buying and eating local is so important to destination economies. Short and

simple supply chains that narrow the gap between farm and fork assist in retaining more money in the local economy and generally result in better incomes for farmers who have more control over prices.

Whilst this is important in developed countries, it is even more important in developing parts of the world where many more people depend on incomes from agriculture to support their families. Integrating local farmers and fishermen, along with other small businesses, into tourism supply chains is increasingly seen as a way to combat poverty and enhance inclusive

economic growth at the destination level. Money spent at local independent shops and restaurants is likely to be recirculated in the local economy in support of other local businesses, thus multiplying its effect and at the same time having a positive impact on local job creation. And the great thing is, supporting local independent shops and restaurants is a win-win situation. Indeed, savoring local flavours and trying new delicacies is the best way to gain a culinary sense of place. And now to whet your appetites: the Kenyan coast is the home of Swahili cuisine which has Indian, Arabic and African influences.

Specialties include mild curries and vegetable dishes laced with coconut, sweet treats such as mahamri (a donut-like pastry made with coconut milk and cardamom), and plenty of street food snacks such as samosas and bhajia (thinly sliced potatoes

dipped in a spicy batter before being deep-fried). And of course, there’s plenty of freshly caught fish from the Indian Ocean