Who We Serve
What We Do: We Create Economic Opportunities
Research shows that 93% of travelers create long-lasting, fond memories based on their experiences with an area’s food and beverage. The distinctive local food and beverage products, culinary history and hospitality are the foundation of an area’s character, and that's what attracts both visitors and locals.
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Where We Came From: Our History
In 2001, Erik Wolf (pictured left) wrote a white paper Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest. Just two short years later, he founded the organization known as the International Culinary Tourism Association. The Association rebranded in 2012 as the World Food Travel Association after research showed that English speakers misunderstood the intended meaning of "culinary tourism". Erik continues as the Association's Executive Director today (find his biography here). Just one point of clarification: our organization's full legal name is "International Culinary Tourism Institute" but we don't use that very often. We registered "World Food Travel Association" in the US State of Oregon as a "trading as/doing business as" name. That is the name by which we are known publicly.
The Association has always been at the forefront of education, research and trendspotting in the world's food and beverage tourism industry. In its first 10 years, the Association hosted international conferences (2004, 2005, 2010, 2013, 2017) and regional USA seminars and conferences (2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2104, 2015, 2016). The Association also conducted the world's first global study about food travelers in 2007, which was updated and expanded in 2010, 2013 and 2016. In 2006, the original white paper from 2001 was updated and turned into a book, also called Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest. Then in 2014, the Association published Have Fork Will Travel, a handbook for industry professionals that details over 50 interrelated components of our industry, and helps all kinds of professionals to understand what food and beverage tourism is, and how to benefit from participating in our industry.
Over the years, our Association has grown in its membership, scope of activities, and visibility. Today, we shepherd a community of nearly 50,000 professionals in 139 countries. We engage in four primary areas of activity, namely Education; Awards & Recognition; Research & Consulting; and Publishing. We are the go-to resource for writers, videographers, producers and bloggers around the world and have served many of the world’s major media outlets including the BBC, Newsweek, Business Week, CNN, Associated Press and Forbes. In our nearly 20 years, the World Food Travel Association has achieved leadership status and respect in food, beverage, tourism and hospitality circles world-wide.
PEOPLE WHO HAVE HEARD US SPEAK: 100,000+
COMMUNITY SIZE: 50,000+
COUNTRIES REPRESENTED: 139
NEWSLETTER READERS: 23,000+
LINKEDIN GROUP MEMBERS: 11,000+
FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS: 4,000+
TWITTER FOLLOWERS: ≈ 2000
CLIENTS SERVED: ≈ 350
WORLD CONFERENCES PRODUCED: 5
REGIONAL CONFERENCES PRODUCED: 10
BOOKS PUBLISHED: 2
Where We're Going: Our Future
In our 2015 State of the Industry report, we asked professionals in our industry what they expected for our industry in the next 10 years, and what they wanted to see. What was our future and how would they like our industry to evolve? We incorporated their feedback into an industry initiative called “Food Tourism 2025”. So far, this has led to the development and introduction of new tools, products and services such as our annual FoodTrekking Awards, our various events and our Business of Food Travel podcast. Over the next several years, we will continue to work with our industry to develop and/or refine our products for both professionals and consumers. Would you like to help us chart the course for the future of our industry? Join us and become part of our journey.
How We Operate: Our Funding
Our primary revenue sources are education and research. As a US-registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, we rely entirely on program revenue, donations and sponsorships to produce our quality programming. And as a non-profit organization, we are authorized to issue tax donation letters, which may offer a tax benefit to US-based individuals and businesses. If you’re located outside the USA, your donation may still be considered deductible as a business expense (consult your accountant for advice). We do not engage in any advocacy work.
How We Lead: We Create Firsts
We've earned, and maintained, our leadership role, partly due to the following accomplishments for our industry:
- First global food tourism conference ever (2004) and longest running series of food tourism conferences, including our industry's first Innovation Summit and first Online Food Travel Summit
- Largest and most influential food tourism voice (since 2004 we have directly spoken in person to almost 100,000 professionals)
- Most in-depth food tourism industry research (2007, 2010, 2013, 2016)
- First introduced an entirely new way of of analyzing food lovers based on their preferences (PsychoCulinary profiling)
- First food tourism industry book (2006)
- World's most comprehensive food & beverage tourism handbook (2014)
- First and largest awards for excellence in food & beverage tourism (2016 and ongoing)
- World's only culinary travel professional certification program (founded 2008)
- First and largest LinkedIn food and beverage tourism group (11,000+ members strong)
- First food tourism consumer guidebook for a US state (Oregon, 2005 & 2006)
- First ever national food tourism guide for the United States (United States of Flavor, 2014)
How We Get the Word Out: Our Leadership & Community
The Association is managed by an Executive Director, Erik Wolf.
We are fortunate to work with a committed Board of Directors and passionate Board of Advisors, who share our mission. Each individual shares their strengths in their respective areas. Directors and advisors also serve on one of our committees: Membership & Member Experience; Finance & Partnerships; Events & Activities; Marketing & Promotions; and Education & Research.
We also work with a network of Certified Ambassadors around the world as our trained representatives in their own areas.
Over time, we have developed a carefully curated list of nearly 2000 journalists world-wide in television, radio, print, and blogs. Just a few of the media outlets we've worked with include the BBC, Newsweek, Business Week, CNN, Associated Press and Forbes. If you're a qualified media professional, please introduce yourself to us.
Who We've Worked With
Below is a representative list of clients with whom we have worked since our founding in 2003.