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Scotland, Sweden, Peru, Ecuador Leading Foodie Destinations


The world is large and the food tourism world is even larger. Not just every country, but every region, every state/province and even every city can lure the foodie traveler with the right product and messaging.

Erik Wolf, Executive Director of the World Food Travel Association told the World Gourmet Society that there is a “tremendous opportunity” for tourism and travel businesses to get involved with food and drink tourism, which has become the largest niche travel sector worldwide in recent years.

Wolf sees more and more destinations catching on. In the UK, Wolf highlighted Scotland, which has made “great strides” in marketing its food and drink to attract visitors. On the other hand, England, Wales and Northern Ireland did not appear to be doing so well. On continental Europe, most foodies have visited Spain, France and Italy and are looking for the “next big thing”. VisitSweden knows that and has taken steps to position Sweden as the “new(est) Culinary Nation”. Visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the quality ingredients and creativity found in modern Swedish cuisine. The Swedes aren’t the only Scandinavians who recognize good food can lure visitors. A regional movement, “New Nordic Food” (or Ny Nordisk Mad as the group is known regionally), exists to coordinate food promotion efforts among all five Scandinavian countries.

More adventurous foodies are looking to locales like Peru and Ecuador, which see food as a way to differentiate their tourism offerings. Peru, for example, knew it needed a way to get tourists more of a reason to stop in Peru for more than the obligatory one to two day Machu Pichu trip. Its food scene gives visitors just that reason. Ecuador is active in the ecotourism space, and its food scene gives eco-foodies a unique experience hard to replicate elsewhere in the world.

The WFTA has proclaimed there is a ‘new wave’ of food tourism ahead of its fourth World Food Travel Summit this year. Sweden is said to be “already riding the wave” and will host the four-day event in Gothenburg, September 21-24.

‘New Wave’ means that food tourism is a cutting-edge industry that is extremely popular and poised to help businesses learn new ways to compete more effectively in a crowded global marketplace, explained Wolf.

“In the past decade, we’ve seen an enormous growth in the food tourism industry. This is partly due to increased interest in food for health reasons or how buying local supports local economies, but it’s also due to the pervasiveness of food and travel shows on the television networks. Every human being on the planet eats and drinks. Therefore, food has the potential to make a greater impact on both travelers and residents than any other special interest sector of the tourism industry.”

Naturally, Wolf hopes the Summit will continue to build relationships between suppliers, agents and destinations as food tourism continues to grow, with a new appointments system introduced this year. Called SavorSearch, the platform will allow delegates to pre-arrange appointments. The main Summit itself includes an educational program from industry thought leaders like Magnus Nilsson (Sweden’s famed Fäviken Restaurant, #34 in the world); Matt Goulding from TIME Magazine, and John Mulholland from London’s The Observer.




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