A major component of history, tradition and identity, gastronomy has also become a major motivation to visit a destination. According to the 2nd UNWTO Report on Gastronomy Tourism, this tourism segment “offers enormous potential in stimulating local, regional and national economies and enhancing sustainability and inclusion”. The Report was presented in the recent 3rd UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism, held in San Sebastian, Spain in cooperation with the Basque Culinary Center.
Sixteen good practices in Gastronomy Tourism from different countries are showcased in the 2nd UNWTO Report on Gastronomy Tourism, touching on issues such as seasonality, training and innovation, ICT-related initiatives and wine-related itineraries. The publication stresses that in terms of tourist motivations, experiencing gastronomy is now at a similar level to visiting a museum, enjoying music and admiring the architecture of a destination. In this sense, gastronomy tourism has strong potential to improve destination management, promote cultures and contribute to other sectors such as agriculture and food manufacturing.
The commitment of gastronomy tourism towards the principles of sustainability has been one of the conclusions of the Forum held in San Sebastian. This includes areas such as poverty reduction, efficient use of resources, environmental protection and climate change, and the protection of cultural values, heritage and diversity.
The event was attended by around 250 participants from 60 countries and was inaugurated by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, Eneko Goia, Mayor of the City of San Sebastian, and the Director of the Basque Culinary Center, Joxe Mari Aizega.
The engagement of the traveller in these principles through his/her gastronomic experience was also underlined throughout the Forum. The need to develop appropriate policy measures and a strong governance framework was highlighted as a major conclusion. This would facilitate not only the commitment of relevant actors, but also the interaction among them, as well as the development of private-public partnerships.
The union between gastronomy and tourism provides therefore a platform to revitalize cultures, to preserve tangible and intangible heritage, to empower communities and to enhance intercultural understanding. These aspects were particularly tackled during the practical experiences included in the Forum, such as a cooking class and farm-to-table dining experiences.
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