Food Tourism: a piece of cake?

“Food Tourism: a piece of cake?” is the title of the international workshop held on September 27th in Alexandrapoulis (Thrace) under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Tourism and WFTA (World Food Travel Association, which I belong to as a member).
Organised by RespondonDemand, TopTourism and Ramada Plaza, the event focused on gastronomy tourism and its effective implementation for the promotion of tourism destinations and tourism private companies.

Keynote speaker Erik Wolf, founder of WFTA, the World Food Travel Association, discussed the role of food travel for local communities. Speakers from Greece and other countries (Italy, UK, Spain, Poland, Turkey, click here for complete list) shared their knowledge and experience. Best practices display - by definition - an across-the-board nature which confirms the full potential of benchmarking as a trigger of innovation.

Attendants included gastronomy opinion leaders from Greece and abroad, tourism companies, hotels, travel agents, restaurants, gastronomy associations, chambers’ and clubs’ members, state bodies, food bloggers and media, chefs, private/public schools students.

The title of my speech: “The Mediterranean identity: food, wine and EVO as tourism experience” gives clear evidence of the issues I dealt with – the potential of traditional gastronomy in the development of experiential travel products. Having chosen the Italian Riviera as my case study, I put forward an array of examples ranging from focaccia Genovese to DOP Riviera Ligure EVO, not to forget about other monuments of the regional cookbook such as cappon magro.

What’s next for food tourism? All speakers agreed on the main challenges Mediterranean (micro)businesses from the food, tourism, retail and crafts industries are facing: foreign languages, storytelling, social media marketing are the gaps to be filled in order to meet the needs & wants of tourists who more and more ask for emotions and authenticity.

Exchanging points of view and experiences has – again and again  – proved the best of basis for the establishment of an international network of know hows. This was fostered by the organisation of a variety of activities, such as an innovative formula centred on storytelling and technical tasting (Greek cuisine, top-class EVO and  cold brewed coffee, I will deal with issue in depth very soon), as well as a lively gala dinner – better still, a kaleidoscope of meze.

Last but not least, as an “Ambassador of the city of Genoa” I had the honour to convey my city’s best wishes for a successful event – though harmed by the most severe of tragedies Genoa is investing efforts, commitment and energy to recover.

My personal thanks to the organizers of the workshop and to all the Colleagues I met.
See you in London on November 4th on occasion of the “FoodTrex London, food travel innovation summit”!.


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