With such a wide spectrum of activities, the benefits of food tourism go far beyond providing moments of entertainment and pleasing the palates of tourists. Food tourism is a path to meaningful experiences, which people usually do not participate in their daily life, but are willing to do so as they travel.
These experiences have a lasting positive effect because when returning home, most people seek to incorporate the learning from these experiences into their own lives. New types of experiences and learning through the uniqueness of regional gastronomic culture and the biodiversity of the destination have the potential to intensify the connection between people and food, besides generating a lasting and remarkable memory for the tourist.
But the benefits of food tourism do not concentrate only on tourists. A well-developed and structured experience can benefit a whole value chain and the environment.
Check out our list below with some of the main benefits of food tourism.
- Social and cultural consciousness, connecting tourists to the destination at different levels of society;
- Distributes income directly along the value chain;
- It works with the inclusion and provides opportunities for minority groups;
- It drives tourism to a more people-oriented industry, changing from sight-seeing to life-seeing;
- Value biodiversity and preserve the heritage;
- It provides a more complete immersion in the destination and experiences that are not normally part of the tourist routine;
- It contributes to a broader development of local communities, fostering entrepreneurship;
- It has the potential to mitigate the negative impacts of massive tourism already seen in many urban centres. One example is to balance the distribution of tourists with other regions of the country thus decreasing the depopulation of villages, especially in the interiors.
These are just some of the benefits that food tourism can bring to travellers and destinations. However, it is necessary to plan for the destination to be able to balance its structural capacity with visitor flow.
In this context, gastronomic tourism, as well as the whole tourism industry, faces many challenges. These challenges should be constantly discussed and evaluated so that the industry grows sustainably in order to maximize its benefits.
In 2019, we participated in the 5th UNWTO World Forum of Gastronomy Tourism in San Sebastián, in the Basque Country, Spain. Do you want to know more? Check here our summary and evaluation on what has been discussed.