Categories: Travel

Culinary tourism

Culinary tourism or food tourism is the exploration of food as the purpose of tourism. It is now considered a vital component of the tourism experience. Dining out is common among tourists and “food is believed to rank alongside climate, accommodation, and scenery” in importance to tourists.

Culinary or food tourism is the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences, both near and far. Culinary tourism differs from agritourism in that culinary tourism is considered a subset of cultural tourism (cuisine is a manifestation of culture) whereas agritourism is considered a subset of rural tourism, but culinary tourism and agritourism are inextricably linked, as the seeds of cuisine can be found in agriculture. Culinary/food tourism is not limited to gourmet food. Food tourism can be considered a subcategory of experiential travel.

While many cities, regions or countries are known for their food, culinary tourism is not limited by food culture. Every tourist eats about three times a day, making food one of the fundamental economic drivers of tourism. Countries like Ireland, Peru and Canada are making significant investment in culinary tourism development and are seeing results with visitor spending and overnight stays rising as a result of food tourism promotion and product development.

The World Food Travel Association offers the following clarification and definition:

We say “food tourism”, but drinking beverages is an implied and associated activity. It is also cumbersome to say “food and drink tourism”. We need to clarify “far and near”. In addition to traveling across country or the world to eat or drink, we can also be food travelers in our own regions, cities and neighborhoods. If you rarely leave your neighborhood and travel across town to a new neighborhood to go to a special grocery store or to eat out, you’re a “food traveler” in your own backyard! The act of traveling is implied because most people travel at least across their own town, if not the region, the country and even the planet. The distance covered is not as important as the fact that we are always on the move. We are all “travelers” of a sort and we are all “eaters”. Therefore, we can also all be regarded as “food travelers”. Previously the World Food Travel Association had used the phrase “culinary tourism” to describe our industry. We stopped using that phrase in 2012 because our research indicated that it gave a misleading impression. While “culinary” technically can be used for anything relating to food and drink and initially seems to make good sense, the perception among the majority of English-speakers we interviewed is that the word “culinary” is elitist. Nothing could be further from the truth about what our industry is all about. “Food Tourism” includes the food carts and street vendors as much as the locals-only (gastro)pubs, dramatic wineries, or one-of-a-kind restaurants. There is something for everyone in the food tourism industry.

Food tourism has four general types:

Cooking class
Food tours
Wine, beer and food festivals
Specialty dining experiences

At present, there are several gastronomic routes in the world dedicated to various types of food or supplies, for example: Route of the Iberian ham in Spain, route of the goat cheese, route of the tench, route of fruits and liquors, route of the wines, the route of the Nuggets, etc. 3 In those that choose culinary themes that highlight the identity of the route, the sale of a food product (marketing) is promoted, a local economy is developed, the culture and identity of a region is promoted. Gastronomic tourism is generally associated with other activities that complement it, such as rural tourism.

Gastronomic tourism is a means to recover the traditional food of each area, during the mid-twentieth century there has been a structural change in the way food is appreciated by tourists. Gastronomic tourism is an instrument that will help the positioning of regional foods. In recent years, they are becoming increasingly important in the world, because they have become a key to the positioning of regional foods.

This tourism can be defined as the visits to primary and secondary producers of food, gastronomic festivals, restaurants and specific places where the tasting of dishes and the experimentation of the attributes of a region specialized in the production of food is the main reason for the realization of travel

The main trends from the point of view of demand (gastronomic tourism trends) can be summarized in five fundamental aspects:

The search for local products, coming from the closest surroundings, that allow knowing the gastronomic culture of the region, that contribute to sustainability and that help to develop local economies. This aspect is valued in a way by the demand that knows that nowhere will you find the product in such a “pure” or close way.
The search for quality products, reinforced by official guarantee brands: Denominations of Origin, Protected Geographical Indications or Own Brands.
The search for a traditional cuisine but with innovation. A comprehensive offer that combines traditional and creative cuisine are key assets for the future of gastronomic tourism.
The search for quality at the best price.
The search for multiculturalism.

Know and experience new foods from other regions
Introduce the specialties of our regions to visitors
Experience new flavors
Know different ingredients and ways of preparation

Gastronomic tourism is presented as a new option to enter the culinary world where we can experience thousands of flavors that characterize a region and which is aimed at both knowledgeable people such as chefs or people working in this area, as well as to all kinds of people willing to have a new experience of flavors.

The World Travel Food Association (WTFA) defines Culinary Tourism as part of a complete tourism experience in that Gastronomy represents a significant part of Cultural Tourism and is closely linked to Rural Tourism because of its relationship with agricultural activities that produce the necessary ingredients to the production of meals. In January 2014, the WTFA published a manual entitled “Have Fork Will Travel” which states that tourism Culinary can not be reduced to the designated Tourism Gastronomic because according to WTFA this niche “gourmet” comprises only 8.1% of total tourist travel.

As each tourist eats, on average, at least three times a day, the bet in a row as the Culinary Tourism will represent, for the WTFA, an increase in tourism revenues, especially in countries that are not known for their gastronomic culture. Countries such as Ireland, the Philippines, Portugal or Canada can be good examples of how an investment in improving the quality of the culinary chain can result in increased economic returns.

The importance of Culinary Tourism in sustainable economic development was already referenced in 2012 in the UNWTO Global Report on Food Tourism during which it is mentioned that as an isolated tourist product Gastronomy is no longer a marketing medium since tourists are looking for ever more experiences that link their visits to the cultural origins of the places and the ‘flavors are a part of a whole’.

In October 2014, the expert Tourism Culinary Christine Couvelier said San Francisco as the best destination from a list of 10 world cities while Peru was awarded the prize World’s Leading Culinary Destination 2014 delivered at framework of the World Travel Awards.

Economic impact
Culinary tourism became prominent in 2001. The World Food Travel Association estimates that food and beverage expenses account for 15% to 35% of all tourism spending, depending on the affordability of the destination. The WFTA lists possible food tourism benefits as including more visitors, more sales, more media attention, increased tax revenue, and greater community pride.

Cooking classes
A growing area of culinary tourism is cooking classes. The formats vary from short lesson lasting a few hours to full-day and multi-day courses. The focus for foreign tourists will usually be on the cuisine of the country they are visiting, whereas local tourists may be keen to experience cuisines new to them. Many cooking classes also include market tours to enhance the cultural experience.

Gastronomic proposals

It has been in recent years when this Canadian city has achieved its current culinary reputation. It is due to its first class fresh fish and other seafood, as well as various vegetables and fruits.

Eating here can become a whole experience, especially if you’re curious, since in addition to fish, in this city you can find food of all types, mainly Japanese and Chinese.

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San Francisco
For any taste or preference, there is a creative culinary response waiting, largely thanks to its multiculturalism, from Mexican cuisine to the world’s largest Chinatown outside of Asia.

It is one of the cities with the greatest movement and cultural and social life, in the broadest sense of the word. Their restaurants are expensive and you have to make a reservation.

Meeting point of different cultures and influences of many customs. There you can find the best restaurants with a variety of flavors.

One can find everything in the Big Apple, and food is no exception. It does not have typical dishes, nor popular, but it is a city so extensive and with such cultural diversity that its gastronomic variety is incredible. You can taste the flavor of the five continents without even leaving Manhattan.

We are talking about the cradle of French gastronomy, with the highest global concentration of luxurious restaurants, Michelin stars and “bouchons” or typical restaurants. Not only can you appreciate an exquisite culinary offer, but also enjoy the quality of the wines that the area offers.

This Vietnamese city has been a real surprise in the gastronomic field thanks to its tasty and varied offer: from simple street stalls to luxurious restaurants. In many of its restaurants, the menu includes reptiles, dogs and cats as eccentricities that are difficult to identify.

While northern Italy is known for its truffles and pesto, Tuscany for its olive oil, Sicily for its sweets, the south for its fish and spices, Roman cuisine has all this and much more.

Las Vegas
This is the chef’s favorite city to make his proposals. As for places to eat, there are all kinds and prices, many of them thematic.

Guided tours for food
The food tour formula varies from tour to tour and from operator to operator (of which there are many). Most, however, feature the following elements:

They operate in major cities, generally but not always capital cities, that have substantial tourist numbers. Tours exist – amongst other places – in London, Paris, Rome, Istanbul, New York City, Lisbon, Berlin, Madrid, Belfast, San Francisco, Copenhagen, Kuala Lumpur and Barcelona. The essential for operators is to find a city with a vibrant and interesting food culture. Street food may feature.

Tours cost around $100 – $120 (€80 to €100) per person for the typical tour. There are wide variations on this, however – more expensive in the United States and less so in Asia.

Tours are generally on foot. The distances traveled are never large – sometimes as in the Indian Food Tour of London, they are focused on a few adjoining streets. Few tourists seem to want a cycle tour although one or two cycle tour companies are considering a food element.

Tours typically last for a minimum three hours although many last longer. Many tours start around 11:00 am local time and continue well into the afternoon, making it the day’s major attraction. Tours generally start and end at public transport hubs such as metro stations.

Participant numbers vary but 12 to 16 is generally considered the upper limit.

Tours rarely charge for small children who share food with parents/carers. Tours may not be necessarily fully compliant with wheelchair use – this will depend on the exact tour and the attitude of each location to disability.

Tours take visitors to places they might otherwise not have seen, so they can shop and eat like locals rather than rely on tourist “traps”. Phrases such as “eat the city like a real Parisian/Berliner/Londoner/New Yorker” are often employed in food tour publicity.

All tours are guided by local people. Many tour guides add their local knowledge as a bonus, perhaps recommending restaurants in other parts of the city.

Tours are primarily about food. The format varies from company to company but will generally include visits to markets, bars, and cafés where those on the tour are invited to sample the wares. There is usually a shop visit to buy the sort of food that is difficult to source elsewhere. Tours may end up with a sit-down meal at a restaurant where there is usually the choice of beer, wine or soft drinks.

Guides talk about food, often pointing those on the tour to shops they use. They may discuss how the sort of food they and their families eat differs from the food generally offered to tourists. They are unlikely to be kindly disposed to international fast food outlets.

Guides generally add in material about the history of the area the tour is in. Most tours are close to, but not in, major tourist zones.

Tours assume that participants eat almost anything and are not designed for special diets. However, most can accommodate vegetarians although vegan diets are rarely catered for – an exception is the Indian Food Tour (as many in India are vegan). The same warning applies to those looking for gluten-free etc.

Source from Wikipedia