Editorial and image by Manos Angelakis
Have Fork… Will Travel…
Prior to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, many American travelers were taking to the road in search of exciting culinary discoveries.
The culinary traveler is a rather new development of the last 15 to 20 years. Cultural travel has been, for many years, the backbone of the transatlantic and transpacific travel industries. Yet travelers that are willing to eschew the comforts of home to take a week long cooking course in Italy’s Tuscany or Hydra, in Greece, or in Tangier, Morocco are a fairly recent phenomenon.
A few years ago, the Travel Industry Association of America commissioned a study to understand how food and wines fit into America’s travel planning.
About 27.3 million US travelers (approximately 17%) initiate travel to participate in food and wine related activities while traveling. That includes dinning in fine restaurants, attending wine festivals, exploring local ethnic cuisine, or participating in cooking classes or other culinary activities.
46% of these culinary travelers selected their destinations strictly because of culinary considerations.
In the US, California, Louisiana and New York are amongst the most popular culinary destinations. Michelin-starred restaurant visits in New York City, top the reasons for stays by vacationing affluent travelers.
Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Morocco, Hong Kong, Thailand and India are international destinations that receive a high rate of gastrotravelers. In Europe, France has fallen from 1st place to 7th or 8th. Surprisingly, the Netherlands and Denmark are fast rising as gastro-destinations.
The interest in culinary tourism has resulted from the emphasis on quality food throughout the current American culture, as well as the availability of ethnic ingredients previously considered exotic and impossible to acquire. The proliferation of cooking vacations and tasting tours abroad is attributed to the belief that one can experience a destination and local culture fully and intimately by incorporating all the senses, not only of sight and hearing but also of taste, touch, and smell.
The “serious culinary travelers” are younger, better educated, and a more affluent segment of our society; they want unique experiences and are looking for authentic tastes they cannot get in their own back yard.
© November 2020 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.