The interest in creating memorable experiences with food for travellers continues to rise. Some refer to this opportunity as food tourism, culinary tourism, or gastronomy tourism but they are all targeting the same.
"The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in their free, newly released 43-page guidelines, defines gastronomy tourism as “a type of tourism activity which is characterized by the visitor’s experience linked with food and related products and activities while travelling. Along with authentic, traditional, and/or innovative culinary experiences, Gastronomy Tourism may also involve other related activities such as visiting the local producers, participating in food festivals and attending cooking classes."
The need to eat is essential, but how and what people want to eat, connect with local foods and culture is the differentiator for tourism businesses, food and beverage providers. These new guidelines provide strategic destination development insights around the four pillars for growing this type of tourism:
1. The tourism development model for the destination?. British Columbia's Wine Institute produced a Wine-Food strategy for the province
2. The territorial strategy. These are often tucked into destination development plans as one tactic such as in Prince Edward County in Ontario
3. The competitive strategy. Destination Cape Breton, in Nova Scotia has produced a Culinary Road Map
4. Basic strategies for product, market development and positioning. For example, Alberta has produced a culinary handbook for industry and the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism has a Chef in Residence Program.
However a destination tackles uniting stakeholders to promote their culinary delights, this report highlights six necessary ingredients:
Integration and cooperation between the sectors that support the value chain.
Generating mutually beneficial relationships and balance.
Aligning the interests and coordinating the benefits of a shared project.
Sharing common principles of planning, decision making and ways to achieve consensus.
Participation of the local community.
Examples of success abound including Jeff Bray, responsible for the award winning Cultivate Festival in Ontario.