MPM604 – Exp Media and Interactive Practice

2014-04-08 11.11.18

My poster presentation focused on the topic: Food in Tourism Advertising. I began by asking the listeners where they have traveled in the past 5 years and if they had some authentic cultural food that could not necessary be found here.

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In January, my family and I went to Tokyo Japan and before that, we were exploring our options whether we wanted to take a tour, or go by ourselves. So we visited a number of traveling agencies and what I noticed while I was there, was a lack of food in the advertising. Now we are very fortunate that Toronto is so multicultural, that that we do have Italian food, Greek food, Korean food and Japanese food, but it is safe to say that when you are eating here, there isn’t the quality of authenticity that you can get if you were to eat the food from where it originated. Being such a huge fan of Japanese cuisine, I wanted to know what kinds of awesome food I will be eating on my trip, and not just eating at a random restaurant depending on wherever we’re going. So obviously, I want to eat the best sushi, the best ramen and the best Japanese dishes but judging by the pamphlets and ads I saw, I would not know if I would be getting that. That was a huge reason why we didn’t go with the tour because we didn’t want to take the chance, so we decided to navigate Japan by ourselves even though we had to do a lot more work and research, it was worth it. And in the end, that agency lost a potential client because of something so simple.

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Because of what I saw, I really wanted to know: what are the top reasons people want to travel to a country. I asked 80 people in total and for first batch of surveys, the first word cloud features the keywords people used in their reasoning. After re-cateogrizing and combining it with the second batch, the reasons people said include:

Shopping, sightseeing, relaxation, architecture, returning home, food, culture and never been there before.

But the top three reasons why people want to travel to a country by order is:

Never being there before, the food and returning home where they were from.

2014-04-08 11.11.27Food being the second most popular reason intrigued me because of what I saw from my experience. So I went to a couple malls and more travelling agencies and still noticed there was little to no mentions of food in any of the advertising. Not only the pamphlets, the backdrops, the posters in store, but also their website itineraries had the tiniest section that talks about the food you will be enjoying on your trip and it was the most general statement like “you will be eating some of the city’s best Chinese food”. Which is basically telling me nothing at all. So I really wanted to know why there was a lack of food in tourism advertising. And two representatives of two different travelling agencies reply with the following: “Food is not considered as an attraction, so it appears less in our advertising”, and “It’s more of a necessity, you have to eat when you travel”. While I do agree it is a necessity, I don’t believe that it should be ignored.

2014-04-08 11.11.24I proceeded by asking the crowd judging by the mock advertisement I created for the middle, if they had the money, the time, and the opportunity to go Japan, would they? Majority of them replied with yes. I then asked if they would love to try some shabu shabu and sushi go round while they are there and they didn’t know what I was talking about. After briefly explaining and showing them what these two Japanese dishes were, the I was trying to make was that simple changes in tourism advertising can ultimately affect a person’s traveling decisions. Knowing what it was, they were even more interested in visiting the country.

2014-04-08 11.11.34By incorporating food in the advertising, it can interest, intrigue and influence. Before I started the presentation, I gave out cookies – but not just to be nice. I believe people were more inclined to come and listen to me ramble because they saw and ate these delicious cookies. I gave them out strategically to as an advertisement for my presentation.2014-04-08 11.10.24I concluded my presentation by reminding people food is more than something that fills our appetite. It can enhance our experiences, making it more memorable and emotional. So for everyone that  really want a full culinary experience when traveling, they need to make sure they know what that is exactly what they will be getting. I remember when I went on a Korean tour in 09, the first night we were there in Korea, we ate Chinese food. I’m not trying to say that traveling agencies are evil, the point I’m making is that very simple changes that people don’t often consider is relevant, can be influential. When you are advertising a product or service to the consumer, make sure you know your consumer really want. From my findings, I believe that food is one of the top reasons why someone visits a country, so they can try different traditional dishes they may not be able to try at home, which is why there should be more emphasis and priority in the tourism advertisement.

All in all, the poster presentation session

Feedback, Questions and My Responses:

– a lot of people I spoke to agreed and was surprised by my findings

– food was always important to them, but they never thought it will be neglected in advertising like this

– people thought the poster was easy to understand

– they loved the cookies social experiment!

Q. Why is this important to me? Why does it matter to me?

This may not immediate apply to you, but if you plan on travelling somewhere in the future, this is just something to be aware of. But if you don’t plan on leaving this country ever then I guess it doesn’t apply to you.

Q. What was your demographic?

The demographic of the participants were mainly Asians because it was from my previous research for another question. But in all honestly, I don’t believe the race matters. Like TourEast said, it is a necessity, do you not want the best food you can get? Furthermore, the people I got to talk were a variety of different races (not Asian) and they all agree the importance of food during travel.

Q. Well you can just google and research these things?

Whole point of going to a travelling agency is not having to do any of the work. You pay them to do all the planning for you. I believe if you are paying 3,000 for a trip, you best believe you should be doing the absolute least work!


(notes taken by Kurt)

Arusha kicked the meeting off and we discussed her research in the context of acquiring more details for further work.
– Jeffrey suggested more scholarly sources to supplement the survey she’s done
– Kurt added she perhaps could look for more specificity in her questions
– looking to narrow the topic down
– Arusha read us a few examples of things she collected, wondering how to narrow things down

Jeffrey has done more surveys and research, talked about his work
– Canadians want to travel because of food
– BUT most ads advertise sightseeing. Not food. Interesting disconnect
– Narrowed down research to Asian Canadians
– Can link to Arusha’s work- how does advertising/media contribute to people’s decision? In Jeffrey’s case to travel
– Expressed a concern for where theis topic of travel is going

Discussed Kurt’s work
– progress in interviews and interesting discoveries

– discussing the findings of her most recent research
– people say you can read body language and its more personal, that’s why they prefer speaking in person
– but online is more convenient, making it the most frequently used method of communication for most online users
– discussed the value of face-to-face interviews in comparison to online. How the change in method might affect her results

Chat with Kathleen, who opened up some new perspectives on our research and the topics we discussed
– PEW RESEARCH CENTER is a great resource for much of our work
– For Kurt, she suggested asking people about civil liberties offline and comparing their answers to their online behaviour.
– “Political surveying”, outlining scenarios for them, also taking care to avoid the white coat effect
– Karen talked about her newest sample
– in her initial survey she had a large number of respondents
– this week she wants to interview 5-10 people in person to see if asking the questions face-to-face changes the results
– Jeffrey feels that his topic lacks depth
– went through a mall, did face-to-face interviews- found that cuisine was the main reason for travel and tourism
– Kathleen brought up a really interesting article by the NY Times about TORONTO food culture. A good recommendation for Jeffrey’s research further
– Arusha noticed people perceive “media” as television, Facebook and Twitter. She is looking for specificity
– In the presentations, Kathleen made sure to remind us to STATE METHOD, STATE YOUR QUESTION, THEN TALK ABOUT FINDINGS

Group Members: Arushaa, Karen, Jeffrey, Kurt, Keenan (absent)

Initial Discussion:

Arushaa: How does the media affect society? What platforms are used most effectively to manipulate people’s opinions?
Karen: Why do people choose to communicate online when they prefer talking in person?
– We discussed the findings of her previous research. Personally, I was surprised to see that so many people admitted to preferring to speak online, I had thought there would be a serious bias.
– We talked about some of the reasons people prefer it going past “it’s convenient”
Jeffrey: Where do Canadians want to travel most and why?
Luke: What is the value of interactive, web-based advertising?

Next we tried our best to combine some of these topics to see what new perspectives we could unlock:
Kurt + Arushaa + Jeffrey had come up with: How do advertisements and the manipulative techniques of social media affect where Canadians travel?
Jeffrey is discussing demographic and culture
– How do our social identities represent themselves in data, and how do we appear in our media?

Meeting with Kathleen:
– Stressed the importance of articulating research
Luke: Might be a good idea to reference each others observations and research
– We have two basic sides to this discussion of media and manipulation: Political (Kurt) and marketing (Jeffrey)
– Everyone else is somewhere in between in a spectrum answering a basic question: How does influence and persuasion work?
– based off the discussion, Jeffrey expressed interest in narrowing his question to embrace a more specific Asian-Canadian demographic, and what factors influence their travel decisions
– Discussed the difference between influencing somebody in person and online


My research question was “Where do Canadians want to travel to most” and over the last week I gathered some audience research by surveying 45 people as well as some statistical data from StatsCan, and a local travel agency in Markham. Here’s a demographic summary of all the 45 participants: 29 females and 16 males; a little over half of them are born in Canada; a large majority of them are Asian; 87% of them are attending school; 58% of them are unemployed; and 89% of them have traveled overseas

Travel Presenation(1)I asked all the participants to list all the countries they have traveled to in the past 10 years and here are the results: a total of 35 countries with United States, Hong Kong, Japan, China and Korea topping the list. The majority of the reasons were for leisure, returning to where they were born, as well as a few that travelled overseas to study.

Travel Presenation(2)In the survey, I asked them to list the top three countries they want to travel to most and here are the results. Leading with 22 votes is Japan, closely followed by England with 18 votes and France tied with Australia third with 11 votes. Other top competitors included United States, New Zealand, South Korea, Italy, Greece, and China.

Travel Presenation(3)I also asked them to briefly explain why they choose those countries and here is a word cloud with all the key words used in their reasoning. The larger the word, the more it was used. The top reasons being the food, the culture, the scenery, the sightseeing, the shopping, the architecture and because they have never been there before.

Travel Presenation(4)As you can tell my data is kind of biased so I asked a local travel agency in Markham with more credibility. Unfortunately it was still kind of biased because 90% of their clients are Chinese, and the most popular places they visit is China, Hong Kong and South East Asia to visit family and sightsee.
But Canadians that travel more for fun go to the US, and Caribbean countries like Cuba, Mexico and Dominican Republic.

Travel Presenation(5)I also looked at the top 15 countries travelled by Canadians in 2012 by Statscan, and the top five: United States, Mexico, Cuba, United Kingdom and Dominican Republic.

Travel Presenation(6)From all the information I have gathered I feel like there isn’t much for me to work with because it is really based on personal preferences. All the reasons for why they want to travel to a specific country are so similar, whether it’s the food, the sightseeing or the culture. So I think I will try to either further narrow down my topic of interest, survey a greater broader audience, or change the topic itself.



Travel by Canadians to foreign countries, top 15 countries visited