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Food Tourism Aspects - March 2021



This Month:


What information about the food and beverage of an area do you think is critical, in terms of attracting gastrotourists?

Replies:


I think it is important to provide information on the local foods, the area’s specialties, where those foods could be found, and the contact information of the place/person/facility that provide them. Cost and availability (seasonality) are also important. Furthermore, it is important to point out what makes that place/area different and special so that the tourist will have an experience he/she will always remember and associate with the destination.

Answer provided by: Gerrie Du Rand. Gerrie Du Rand is an Associate Professor in the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. She is recognized as a researcher and expert in the field of food and hospitality related consumer behaviour. Her specialty area of interest is food tourism and the use of local foods in culinary mapping.

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Considering the profile of gastrotourists, they would be interested to learn which are the unique and different gastronomic experiences a destination may offer. Safety and hygiene protocols implementation are also important today -during Covid19- when trying to attract their attendance.

Answer provided by: Chrissa Krassa. Chrissa Krassa serves as the association’s certified ambassador for Cyprus, supporting the development of food tourism in the country. From 1998 to 2011 she was appointed to organize the Philoxenia Tourism Exhibition – held on the grounds of the International fair of Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2011 she founded Top Tourism, a non-profit company focusing on gastronomy and aiming to promote the Greek tourism effectively in a worldwide basis.

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I believe that the global crisis, due to Covid19, has affected gastrotourists around the world, in relation to the gastrotourism experiences they want to live. To approach them again, we need a detailed description of the offer, a few words about the history of the gastronomy experience, and detailed pricing and information about the company that provides the gastronomic experiences. It is now more than ever necessary to inform them about the origin of the products and how they are cultivated. It is also important to describe the place where the gastronomy experiences are offered. Since a picture speaks more than a thousand words, the photo material and the relevant videos are necessary!

Answer provided by: Maria Athanasopoulou. Maria Athanasopoulou is an ambassador of the World Food Travel Association in Greece and Master Culinary Travel Professional. She is the founder of Respond On Demand Ltd, a tourism marketing company aiming to the promotion of all types of Greek tourism to travel agents abroad. She is also a co-owner of Top Tourism, a non-profit company focusing on gastronomy.

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Today, travelers have access to an enormous amount of information about any destination before they even visit that place, and sometimes they base their travel decisions on what they have read and on the word of mouth. Travelers’ expectations could provide both opportunities and threats for a destination as the way they have pictured their travel or holidays in their mind often narrows the frame of a food and beverage experience. Any stakeholder, operator and ambassador of a given area should always bear in mind how important her/his words are when corresponding, talking or promoting a given region, especially with regards to intangible commodities -like local food culture and food behaviours. In short, the future of a destination lies in the ability of its tourist stakeholders to provide travelers with real and uninflected information about their destination.

Answer provided by: Livio Colapinto. Livio Colapinto is a certified ambassador of the World Food Travel Association in Italy. He is a forward-thinking, curious researcher and analyst of food and hospitality. He has worked with -and mentored- a wide range of companies and groups in the restaurant and hospitality industry. He has also assisted international food professionals.

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For me (unsurprisingly) it’s about catering to my dietary choices with authentic tasting recipes. So I want local food, local flavors and recipes, but adapted to meet my dietary preferences, whether that’s vegan (in my case) or gluten free, or lactose free etc. And I want choice. And then I also want (yes, there is more!) foody experiences that cater to me (e.g. a vegan cooking class, a tasting menu, a tour etc).

Answer provided by: Chantal Cooke from PASSION for the PLANET. Chantal Cooke is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, travel writer, and co-founder of the UK’s ethical radio station ‘PASSION for the PLANET’. She has been vegetarian for over 30 years and she is passionate about promoting tourism as a force for good – especially when it comes to food. Her key focus is ethical and responsible food tourism. For over 25 years Chantal has worked as a journalist/presenter for: the BBC, commercial radio, national newspapers and magazines. She is the author of two books and she has been featured in a number of business books.

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The culinary heritage of a place and the people behind it. I think these are the two pivots around which destinations should build storytelling, and marketing activities. Food is the best teller of places. It effectively illustrates their genius loci -nowadays marketers would call that USP (Unique Selling Proposition) but I think ancient Romans hit the point with ‘spirit of a place’. Provided that you always keep an eye on cross-cultural issues, and that you do not take anything for granted, the most effective marketing strategy is promoting culinary heritage and related crafts/ techniques/ processes through the stories, the faces, and the words of people who actually grow/produce/manufacture products and cook traditional dishes.

Answer provided by: Luisa Puppo from Ligucibario® and LiguriabyLuisa. Luisa Puppo has been a destination expert, an experiential tourism specialist and a marketing and training professional since 1994. In 2018, on the Women's Day, she was appointed by Mayor Marco Bucci as one of the ‘Ambassadors of the City of Genoa’.

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How and where could a gastrotourist enjoy the local cuisine? Marketing is critical to inform food travelers about food producers of a local area, as well as about those restaurants or delicatessens that use and sell local products. Also, marketing could educate tourists about local cuisine, recipes, tastings and visits for a real food and beverage experience.

Answer provided by: Lisa Key from African Relish. Lisa Key is working in the leisure, travel and tourism industry. She is the owner of ‘African Relish – A Culinary Adventure’ cooking school. Her professional skills include entrepreneurship, cooking, event management, and marketing.

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The loss or distortion of local food identity and authenticity, in the name of fast and easy profit, could easily destroy the image of a destination. It could take years to regain the tourists’ confidence.

Answer provided by: Cristina Melo from LOCAL® - FOOD CULTURE. Since 2020, Christina Melo is a project manager in ‘Local Food Culture’. She has been focused in marketing and tourism.

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The critical information to attract gastrotourists to an area might be to associate it with a specific smell or a sum of smells that characterize that specific visited area. It might be a coffee smell, an orange blossom smell, a chocolate factory, a fresh fish market (if it is really fresh), and so on. This information is also particularly important in order to manage the unpleasant smells that a beer factory might produce (i.e. I associate Guadalajara, Mexico with a really unpleasant smell of beer brewing) or the unclean fresh fish market mentioned above. Food tourism professionals might create the smellscape knowledge by adding smell walks in their tours, educating the visitors on how important it is to take into consideration the smell of a wine cork or make sure the smell of their food reaches the streets in order to increase their sales and revenues.

Answer provided by: Massimo Bonmassari. Massimo Bonmassari has studied tourism and he was working as a chef de partie in a hotel until the COVID-19 pandemic struck. He is a market research intern in World Food Travel Association. He considers himself a world citizen and believes in the need for constant individual growth, and dreams for a more equitable and sustainable world to live in. Regarding gastronomy, Massimo loves quality and expertise and he likes to dive into each culture to scout new recipes.

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The ingredients should be gathered locally, recipes should be local, if possible old ones which may be culinary heritage. Well presented to entice the folks that love gastronomic adventures.

Answer provided by: Bahadir (Bob) Yasa. Bahadir Yasa has been an international hotel executive for a long time. He has been General Manager for the last 10 years. He is also founder and coordinator of ‘GastroKale°’, and member of Skäl, AHMA, and ASTA.

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The gastrotourists are explorers who visit places that could satisfy their cravings both in terms of taste and culture. These travelers keep looking for discovering those places where they could become a part of the community or of the destination through food. Such travelers find an instant connection to a destination through its cuisine. With the advent of Internet and the increase in the amount of available information this segment has risen steadily and I believe that this trend will exist in the future, too. Companies that offer gastrotours should not only focus on the food, but also on the food origin, on its roots, as well as on the reasons why a particular dish is so famous. Behind each and every old restaurant or/and dish there is a history. To entice a traveler to visit and explore a destination this is the best tool: to connect the restaurant history, the cuisines, the spices and the narrative to travelers. Because they are explorers and would eventually reach there.

Answer provided by: Wasim Shaikh from Active Holidays. Wasim Shaikh is the founder and experience curator of ‘Active Holidays’. He has focused on hospitality, event management and tourism.

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A huge misconception which lingers on travelers’ minds is when they confuse chilly/hot food with spicy food. Spices like any other form of food come in different flavors. Some examples could be the following: the cinnamon is a ‘sweet’ spice, the tamarind is a ‘sour’ spice, the turmeric is a great example of a ‘bitter’ spice, and -last but not the least- ‘red chili powder’ that could be considered as ‘hot’ spice. Hence, on a food tour in India, a traveler should order spicy food which opens heart and be surprised.

Answer provided by: Saransh Gupta from Truly India Tours & Travels. Saransh Gupta is a director of business development at ‘Truly India Tours & Travel’. He has focused on event management, travel management, leisure travel, and tourism.

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FoodTreX Global Summit

April 15-16, 2021 | 100% Online

Theme: "Sustainability in Food & Beverage Tourism"

THIS YEAR’S THEME IS SUSTAINABILITY IN FOOD & BEVERAGE TOURISM! Over the course of two days, a total of 16 speakers will deliver 12 sessions and tackle the most pressing issues of environmental, socioeconomic and economic sustainability to destinations, organizations, business strategists and managers, entrepreneurs, and other key stakeholders in the extended food and beverage tourism industry. FoodTreX Global is 100% online.

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Maria Athanasopoulou and Chrissa Krassa serve as ambassadors for Greece and Cyprus in the World Food Travel Association. They run the tourism marketing company Respond On Demand and the non profit company Top Tourism.

Production: Top Tourism

Editing: Ifigeneia Leri

Feel free to contact us for any additional information about Food Tourism at : respondondemand@gmail.com


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