Culinary tourism

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France is a country that has been strongly associated with culinary tourism with both international visitors as well as French citizens traveling to different parts of the country to sample local foods and wine.

Culinary tourism or food tourism or gastronomy tourism is the exploration of food as the purpose of tourism.[1] It is considered a vital component of the tourism experience.[2] Dining out is common among tourists and "food is believed to rank alongside climate, accommodation, and scenery" in importance to tourists.[2]

Culinary tourism became prominent in 2001 after Erik Wolf, president of the World Food Travel Association, wrote a white paper on the subject.[3]


Pierogi in the Countryside Museum in Radom (Muzeum Wsi Radomskiej w Radomiu), Poland

Culinary or food tourism is the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences, both near and far.[4] Culinary tourism differs from agritourism in that culinary tourism is considered a subset of cultural tourism (cuisine is a manifestation of culture) whereas agritourism is considered a subset of rural tourism,[5] but culinary tourism and agritourism are inextricably linked, as the seeds of cuisine can be found in agriculture. Culinary/food tourism is not limited to gourmet food.[6] Food tourism can be considered a subcategory of experiential travel.[citation needed]

While many cities, regions, or countries are known for their food, culinary tourism is not limited by food culture. Every tourist eats about three times a day, making food one of the fundamental economic drivers of tourism. Countries like Ireland, Peru, and Canada are making a significant investment in culinary tourism development and are seeing results with visitor spending and overnight stays rising as a result of food tourism promotion and product development.[7]

Food tourism includes activities such as taking cooking classes; going on food or drink tours; attending food and beverage festivals;[8] participating in specialty dining experiences;[3] shopping at specialty retail spaces; and visiting farms, markets, and producers.[citation needed]

Economic impact[edit]

The World Food Travel Association estimates that food and beverage expenses account for 15% to 35% of all tourism spending, depending on the affordability of the destination.[9] The WFTA lists possible food tourism benefits as including more visitors, more sales, more media attention, increased tax revenue, and greater community pride.[9]

Cooking classes[edit]

A growing area of culinary tourism is cooking classes. The formats vary from a short lesson lasting a few hours to full-day and multi-day courses. The focus for foreign tourists will usually be on the cuisine of the country they are visiting, whereas local tourists may be keen to experience cuisines new to them. Many cooking classes also include market tours to enhance the cultural experience.[10] Some cooking classes are held in local people's homes, allowing foreign tourists to catch a glimpse of what daily life and cuisine look like for those in the country they're visiting. Both the local hosts and foreign guests benefit from the cross-cultural experience.[citation needed]

Food tours[edit]

A home dinner in Bali, Indonesia (2016), made as part of a food tour
The oldest bar serving dough named pasztecik szczeciński in the center of Szczecin (Poland), a popular destination for tourists visiting the city. Pasztecik szczeciński is one of traditional dishes of the Western Pomerania.

Food tours vary by locale and by operator. They are common in major cities such as London,[11] Paris,[12][13] Rome,[14] Florence,[14] Toronto,[15] Kuala Lumpur,[16] and Barcelona.[17]

June 10, 2017, was the first annual National Food Tour Day, celebrating food tourism around the world.[18] The World Food Travel Association introduced World Food Travel Day on April 18, 2018,[19] as a way to put the spotlight on how and why we travel to experience the world's culinary cultures. It is designed to bring awareness to both consumers and trade, and support the Association's mission – to preserve and promote culinary cultures through hospitality and tourism. The day is celebrated all around the world every year on April 18.[citation needed]

Benefits of Culinary or food tourism[edit]

Food tourism[20] offers a multitude of benefits for travelers, including:

  1. Opportunities to try unique and authentic dishes
  2. Immersion into local or street food culture
  3. History and Traditions Behind the Food We Eat
  4. Supporting local economies by patronizing small businesses and food markets

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Long, Lucy (2004). Culinary Tourism. The University Press of Kentucky. p. 20. ISBN 9780813122922.
  2. ^ a b McKercher, Bob; Okumus, Fevzi; Okumus, Bendegul (2008). "Food Tourism as a Viable Market Segment: It's All How You Cook the Numbers!". Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing. 25 (2): 137–148. doi:10.1080/10548400802402404. hdl:10397/12108. S2CID 153688186.
  3. ^ a b "What is Culinary Tourism?". Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  4. ^ "World Food Travel Association". World Food Travel Association. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  5. ^ Wolf, Erik (2006). Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest. Kendall/Hunt Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7575-2677-0.
  6. ^ Wolf, Erik (2001). "Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest" white paper. World Food Travel Association. (currently out of print).
  7. ^ Wolf, Erik (2014). Have Fork Will Travel. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1490533995.
  8. ^ "How Culinary Tourism Is Becoming a Growing Trend in Travel". HuffPost Canada. 2015-06-17. Retrieved 2018-08-15.
  9. ^ a b "What Is Food Tourism?". World Food Travel Association. Archived from the original on 2014-01-28. Retrieved October 8, 2017.
  10. ^ "A Cooking Vacation". The Tribune India.
  11. ^ Lane, Megan (September 16, 2005). "A taste for gastro-tourism". BBC News.
  12. ^ "Discover the Paris food scene like a true Parisian". 2015-09-10.
  13. ^ "In Paris, 8 New Tours, From Art to Shopping". The New York Times. October 16, 2016.
  14. ^ a b Berger, Sarah (April 26, 2018). "These are the top food experiences in the world, according to TripAdvisor". CNBC.
  15. ^ Abel, Ann (March 13, 2017). "Eat the World: 9 Best Food Tours". Forbes. See also Culinary Adventure Co.
  16. ^ "Six Ways to Enjoy Kuala Lumpur". South China Morning Post. September 2, 2015.
  17. ^ Frayer, Lauren (August 18, 2015). "Food Tours Help Keep Barcelona's Mom-And-Pop Tapas Bars Alive". NPR.
  18. ^ "National Food Tour Day". Archived from the original on 2018-11-22. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  19. ^ "World Food Travel Day". World Food Travel Association. Archived from the original on 2020-04-22.
  20. ^ "Food Travel😋: Best Definitive Guide of 2023". February 2023.

External links[edit]