• Jane Connelly posted an article
    Community Spotlight: Livio Colapinto see more

    Join us as we sit down with Livio Colapinto, co-owner of Zest of Italy


    First off please introduce who you are and share with us how and why you got involved in food/beverage tourism.

    LC: I was born in Torino with Apulian roots, a large family scattered throughout the Italian boot and a great passion for my mother and grandmother's kitchen. At 8 I cooked my first dish for Nonno Giuseppe and kept pleasing others with food ever since - combing through markets, visiting farms and meeting artisans, cooking for guests and fellow chefs - while discovering cultural masterpieces of Italy. After my engineering studies and some ten years in finance between London, Zurich and Tokyo I studied at Slow Food University, worked and traveled with president Carlo Petrini, and later with Oscar Farinetti as he was working on opening his Eataly market stores around the world. 

    While still at Slow Food I met my wife Kathrin - a then undergraduate student at the University of Gastronomic Sciences - and while dating we ended up traveling to and visiting wine estate, food shows and happened to guide some prominent chefs very close to the Slow Food community. Kathrin had a lovely experience organising a tour for Alice Waters in Wien and I happened to do the same with Michel Troisgros in Piemonte. After that and in the last 12 years, things went on built naturally, organically following Kathrin’s vision to lead our guests, young and old, professionals and leisure travellers, with the same care we’d apply with relatives visiting us that we had not seen for a long time. 

    Today our unique expertise and guest management are our most powerful USPs. 

    Next we would love to know what your company does, its mission, vision, etc.

    LC: We design and operate multi-regional tours across Italy, moving slowly through a landscape, rubbing shoulders with real people who are wonderful in their fields and never depending on the branded glitz to make our guest's trip a memorable experience.

    We provide individuals, professionals and organizations with travel solutions tailored to the most unique and diverse needs. We customize travel design across Italy, lifestyle & private tours, culinary study trips for importers, cooks and sommeliers. All aimed at building ties and experiences to help them gain the best out of their time in Italy.

    We are sure that you have many, but if you had to choose just one, what would be your favorite food/beverage travel experience?

    LC: Yes we have many, and we’d never be able to choose one. Italy for us it’s like a vast playground where we meet and play with hundreds of food artisans, cooks, hosts. While we spend some time together we learn about their struggles, they personal challenges, we share ours, and we always find ways to look ahead with positivity. When we leave - always with a hug and an “arrivederci”, see you soon - we feel like we have been together for ever and whenever we come back it’s like time has stopped in between our last visit.

    Bakers in historic old-town centre of Puglia or in the eternal Rome, vignerons in both the most remote and prime wine appellations, Michelin starred chefs and local cooks, small scale organic farmers and food company owners… this is the world of Zest of Italy.  A world of real artisans that we respect, promote, encourage, support and celebrate with our travels and our travellers.

    Finally we would like to look ahead towards the future. Our industry is growing and changing quickly, from your experience and perspective can you predict any food & beverage travel trends for the future?

    LC: We strongly believe in cycles and, within a cycle, in moment of consolidation after new trends are implemented. 15 years ago food tourism was known to few and this rapidly evolved to become, today, one of the main - if not the main - trending sector of the travel industry. 

    Today we are about to reach the pick in terms of awareness and market scope, and the next 10 years will see further consolidation of the industry. What will happen, and already started to, in this period of consolidation will be a wave of spin-off from this sector towards more specific and peculiar chapters. This is the praxis in the natural life cycle of a product and food tourism, as a commodity product, will face the same stages. So food tourism will develop and diversify its offer. 

    This will occur by gaining new markets both horizontally, or laterally, entering in other tourism categories - i.e. food & sport tourism, food & health tourism, food & adventure tourism, food & senior tourism, etc... - but also vertically with food tourism becoming increasingly important at different levels of the tourism chain with new stakeholders involved - i.e. food tourism editing and publishing, food tourism communication agencies, food tourism DMCs, food tourism in the transport business, food tourism in technology, etc...


     Forbes: Zest of Italy: Discover Authentic Italy Through Its Cuisine


  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    The Secret Weapon for Aspiring Culinary Destinations see more

    While primary culinary destinations may find this article of interest, the article is written largely for the benefit of secondary and tertiary culinary destinations.

    “We’re a food lover’s dream destination!” “We’ve got 180 different cuisines!” “We publish a comprehensive restaurant guide of the entire area.” “We’ve got a Starbucks.”

    We’ve heard cries like these time and time again from destinations of all types and sizes. Just because your area has restaurants with multiple types of cuisines and a couple of breweries, does not mean that your destination is, or could be, a food-lover’s dream. And a restaurant guide and a Starbucks themselves aren’t travel motivators. As for whether your destination is a truly dream for food lovers, well, that is for the food lovers to decide!

    When crafting a destination that will appeal to food lovers, there are two important ingredients to evaluate. The first is research, while the second is the culinary destination life cycle. In this article, we’ll look at research. Next time, we’ll look at the culinary destination life cycle.

    Cash is the lifeblood of a business. Without cash, any kind of business will wither and die. Pretty simple math. Consequently, the business owner or manager is necessarily obsessed with sales. More revenue! More visitors! The company’s staff, and especially anyone in a sales role, gets tired of hearing the same pleas over and over. Similarly, travelers hate being bullied into buying more or being charged more.

    How do we entice more visitors to try our destinations for high quality food and drink? Marketing decisions drive sales, but what drives the marketing decisions? Research.

    In destination marketing, research can help us to discover a lot of different things such as the age range, income level and preferences of travelers who might be interested in our destination. But there is a problem with this kind of purely demographic information. Let’s say your research tells you that the type of traveler who would enjoy your destination is 30-40 years old, with one or no kids, earning €50,000-70,000 per year and who likes outdoor recreation as well as good food. What’s wrong with this picture? You’ve just described a huge percentage of travelers. And if you look at their preferences for good food and outdoor recreation, a very high percentage of the world’s tourist destinations could be a great fit. How does the data you’ve just gathered help to lure the ideal travel to your area? You need more precise data to help you to define your target markets. You don’t just need more research; you need a different type of research.

    The laser scalpel in food tourism/culinary tourism/gastronomy tourism research is PsychoCulinary profiling. It’s a tool that our Association introduced in 2010, and which was honed to perfection since then. In a nutshell, PsychoCulinary profiling analyzes the buying behavior of food-loving travelers. It can explain why your friends love the new Italian restaurant down the street, while your family doesn’t care for it. It’s the same principle with destinations, namely, why some people rave about a place and other people return home without the same excitement.

    There is another piece of the puzzle, however, and that is customization. Knowing how travelers think and make decisions is important and helpful. But what do you think would happen if you matched the wrong type of visitors to the wrong type of destination? For example, if your area is known for Michelin star restaurants, what would visitor exit surveys say if you marketed your area to food-loving novices? The comments would not be positive. Or if your area is known for food trucks, would Michelin-star seekers enjoy your destination? Unlikely. It’s like finding the right key to unlock the door. You’re trying to find the exactly right type of food lover who will love your destination, not just any destination. That’s how you get raving fans who return home and praise your area’s food and drink to friends like them.

    To get this type of data, analysis is required, not just of the food-loving travelers, but also of the destination itself. You need quality research to make quality marketing decisions that will drive actual increased bookings. You may have heard the term market research before? That’s the market that is part of marketing.

    As the world’s leading authority on food and beverage tourism, the World Food Travel Association has always led with firsts for our industry. We conducted the world’s first research study of American food-loving travelers in 2007, as well as the world’s first global study of food-loving travelers in 2010, which included our breakthrough PsychoCulinary profiling analysis. We followed with subsequent studies of American food-loving travelers in 2013 and another global study in 2016. Our research and data help destinations, governments and businesses to make sound decisions to woo successfully food- and beverage-loving travelers.

    If you need data to help drive your strategy and marketing decisions, consider investing in our 2016 Food Travel Monitor report. Published in July 2016, less than 3 years ago, the data and conclusions from this report are still highly relevant. You can order a copy of the 342-page report for only US$395. The markets surveyed include Australia, China, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

    The 2016 report will be discontinued in November 2019 to make way for the 2020 report, the price of which has been set at US$995. Markets analyzed in the 2020 report will be Canada, China, France, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States. You can save US$600 by investing in the 2016 report today.

    Both reports include the PsychoCulinary profiles of outbound food-loving travelers from those countries.

    Order your copy of the 2016 Food Travel Monitor today before it's no longer available. Remember, the 2020 Report will be priced at US$995.

    You can also subscribe to our newsletter here.

    This article is the first in a series of articles designed for marketers and strategists for culinary and aspiring culinary destinations. Next time we’ll be taking a look at the culinary destination life cycle. 

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Introducing World Food Travel Association Advisory Board Member Livio Colapinto from Italy see more

    Livio Colapinto is the co-owner of Zest of Italy, a company founded in 2008 with Kathrin Fehervary that focuses on delivering quality food and wine tours throughout the various regions of Italy. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors, and is a Certified Ambassador of, the World Food Travel Association. We spent a few minutes with Livio recently to get to know him better.

    Livio was born in Torino, Northern Italy, with Apulian (located Southern Italy) roots and great passion for the cooking of his mother, aunts and grandmothers. At the age of 8, he was cooking his first meal for the family and since then, he has never stopped searching for the best foods.

    After his engineering studies and some 7 years of work in finance between London, Zurich and Tokyo, he returned to his origins. He paused his career in international banking to get a Master’s Degree in Food Culture and Communication from the University of Gastronomic Sciences. He was the right-hand of Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini for two years, which prompted him to attend the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences, and supported Oscar Farinetti, with the opening of the original Eataly stores in Italy and Japan. Because of this relationship, Livio was able to invite Oscar to appear on a recent Eat Well, Travel Better podcast produced by our Association.

    Livio got started with the World Food Travel Association almost 6 years ago when he penned a chapter, Food & Drink Manufacturing, in the Association’s Have Fork Will Travel bookFor Livio, being a part of the World Food Travel Association gives him a broader perspective about the food and beverage tourism industry. He finds the networking one of the most valuable tools the Association offers.

    As for his favorite food destinations, Livio has a fondness for Japan, which he obtained when he lived in Tokyo, in 2006, to open the Japan office of Slow Food. Livio is also fascinated by New York City and Los Angeles due his numerous trips there for meetings with food retailers and restaurateurs (think: Nancy Silverton, Eli Zabar), who use Livio’s services to source quality Italian food and beverage products.

    As for what’s next for Livio and his company, he’ll be working to develop new travel programs to Italy with both passionate food travelers and foodservice professionals, many of who originate in the USA.

    You can learn more and follow him here on Instagram or here on Facebook.

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Meet one of the World Food Travel Association's newest members, Luisa Puppo from Italy see more

    Meet Luisa Puppo, one of the Association's newest members. Luisa is the founder and owner of Welcome Management - Ligucibario®. Since 1994, her expertise has largely been with destinations, food and wine experiential tourism, marketing and training professionals. Ligucibario® is a dynamic on- & off-line platform which she created with her business partner and husband, Umberto Curti. Together they specialize in Ligurian ethnogastronomy, crafts, cultures and traditions. Ligucibario® is the corporate brand of Welcome Management (est. 2001), a consultancy firm specialized in marketing and training for the tourism, enogastronomy and retail sectors.

    As a senior consultant (project design, project coordinator, AE trainer), she works on account of VET centres, universities, SME organizations (tourism, crafts, food & wine), consortia, Chambers of Commerce and other local authorities. She specializes in the varied facets of destination management and branding, with a focus on rural areas and special interest tourism (e.g., food & wine, crafts, art & culture, activities & sports).

    Luisa is a gourmet, an English lecturer, translator and blogger. She is the co-author of “Day by day English." or in Italian, "L’inglese quotidiano per l’accoglienza turistico-commerciale”, as well as “Genova gourmet. Storie e ricette della tradizione  (History, recipes and traditions)” and also “A scuola di cacao. conosci e degusta il cioccolato", or in English, "The cocoa school. Learn and taste chocolate”. She also edits the LiguriabyLuisa blog (in English).

    She grew up in an Italian family lead by the archetypical “Nonna” (Grandma) who mastered both the art of choosing ingredients and traditional cuisine. Moreover, her father was a gourmet and a wine expert. He used to take her and her brother along his foodie tours, through wine cellars, manufacturers and restaurants.

    Among her favorite foodie destinations, Luisa named France ("a multi-fold gourmet traveller’s paradise just around the corner from Liguria. I love the way they market wine and cheese."); Italy's Piedmont region ("the perfect match of sumptuous landscapes and food and wine excellence, not to forget cultural resources. A kaleidoscope of traditions, from the hearty dishes of rural areas to the elegance of court cuisine in Turin.") and of course, Liguria ("a unique mix of sea and mountains, a crossroads of routes and trades, a food and wine history handbook – and the cradle of Mediterranean cuisine as well. All of that in a handful of kilometres.") Those sound like three great choices to us.

    Luisa joined the World Food Travel Association for benchmarking, networking and exchange of experiences and best practices. These "keywords" are truer than ever when it comes to food, wine and tourism – a "concentrate of contaminations and conviviality. The scope and aim of WFTA suit this all." Besides the networking opportunities, Luisa is looking forward to participating in the Association's events. Luisa recommends to prospective members to join the Association to widen their professional network, exchange views, increase their visibility, and to attend events and take advantage of training opportunities (discounted for members, of course).

    In the near future, Luisa looks forward to the launch of her new LiguriabyLuisa blog and a series of projects dedicated to food & wine experiential tourism that will encompass education and destination marketing/product design.

    Welcome Luisa. It's a pleasure to have you in our community!

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Just Released! Podcast Episode 17: Rosetta Ferrari - Travel is the Best Education see more

    In this episode #17 of Eat Well Travel Better, join us as we speak with Rosetta Ferrari. Born and raised in London to Italian parents, Rosetta spent her young life in and around the food industry, but chose to seek an alternative path. In her pursuit of a career in music, the food world kept finding its way back to her in the form of various jobs and opportunities, and eventually her position at Gregg Wallace Italian Food Holidays, a special interest holiday company. required her to design and create bespoke itineraries for authentic Italian food tours, which run regularly throughout the year and often sell out at maximum capacity.




    In this episode you'll learn:

    • To know and focus on your true strengths, and hire others to do what you need help with
    • For those who are shy, how to arrange circumstances so you will be in a position to overcome your shyness
    • Why authentic cuisines ultimately beget fusion dishes
    • Why regional cuisines are, in many cases, more important than national cuisines
    • Why promoting regions instead of entire countries can help combat overtourism
    • Why travel is the best education



  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    World Food Travel Association interviews Eataly Founder Oscar Farinetti in podcast see more

    Oscar Farinetti is the man behind the world-renowned Eataly concept. The New York Times described Eataly as a "megastore" that "combines elements of a bustling European open market, a Whole-Foods-style supermarket, a high-end food court and a New Age learning center."  In 2017, Oscar opened Eataly World, which has been described as the Disneyland for Italian food. Fusing experience gained from his father's retail chain and his own love of food, the Eataly stores, and now Eataly World, are more than just retail stores and foodservice outlets. They are innovative attractions that are sought out not just by locals, but food and drink lovers from around the world.  Oscar is a passionate and visionary leader with fascinating stories to share.

    In this episode you'll learn:

    1. How it's OK to start with nothing more than a vision - build it and they will come
    2. Why it's critical to honor our food traditions and food cultures
    3. Why starting with the hardest task makes subsequent tasks easier
    4. What can be done to reduce "overtourism" and the strain on popular destinations
    5. Why tourists should be encouraged to eat the local dishes


  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    World Food Travel Association Ambassador in Italy, Roberta Garibaldi at BIT 2017. see more

    World Food Travel Association Ambassador in Italy, Roberta Garibaldi, participates in a series of sessions about food and beverage tourism at BIT in Italy this month. Four total sessions are available for viewing on her YouTube page. All sessions are in delivered in Italian.