International

Gastronomical tourism on the rise

Over a quarter of consumers influenced by local gastronomy in their holiday destination choice. Some of the key trends redefining culinary tourism in recent years are the rise of street food and food markets, cooking lessons with locals and gastronomy tours with locals or experts.

Globalisation, coupled with a shift in cultural and economic influence from West to East and the boom in travel flows around the world, is resulting in consumers becoming increasingly familiar with and enthusiastic about different food cultures, according to GlobalData a leading data and analytics company.


GlobalData's latest consumer survey for Q3-2018, reveals that 27.6 per cent of consumers globally said that the popularity of a destination in terms of food and drinks is a factor that helps them decide where to go on holiday. The same survey showed that Generation Z and millennials find local cuisine more influential when choosing a destination, compared to Generation X and baby boomers.


TV programs about chefs, cooking, travelling and cooking competitions have all had a positive impact on the growing public passion for gastronomy, and a transformative effect on their food preferences, especially when travelling.


Konstantina Boutsioukou, Consumer Travel Analyst at GlobalData, commented, “Given that people travelling abroad and, in particular millennials, are increasingly seeking authentic and transformative travel experiences, local cuisine provides them with a unique lens through which they can better understand the history, people and the culture of the destinations they visit.


“Tourism players wanting to tap into this cohort must capitalise on the rise of culinary tourism by combining gastronomy with other activities such as cultural tours and wellness activities, tailoring products that meet the demands of travellers wanting to experiment with food during their trips.”


Some of the key trends redefining culinary tourism in recent years are the rise of street food and food markets, cooking lessons with locals and gastronomy tours with locals or experts. Yet, a new trend becoming increasingly influential within food tourism is home cooking and meal sharing.


Whereas local restaurants and food tours allow tourists to get a glimpse into a region’s gastronomy, they cannot compare to having the opportunity to dine in a local’s house and get to experience how a family interacts while cooking and eating together; thus, witnessing the traditions surrounding food culture first-hand.


EatWith, a meal sharing app offering food experiences in more than 150 cities around the world, allows its users to connect with local hosts at the destinations they are visiting. In particular, travellers can undertake cooking lessons with hosts, cook together and share meals while getting a glimpse of the lives of locals by visiting their homes.

Boutsioukou added, ”As competition between tourist destinations intensifies, tourism boards and businesses must seek to diversify their offering propositions by looking at the intangible cultural heritage of their regions, and leveraging elements such as gastronomy is a key way to do so.”