World Food Travel Association

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Now in 5th Year, FoodTrekking Awards Recognize Excellence & Innovation In Food Travel Experiences see more

    The FoodTrekking Awards are the travel industry’s oldest and best respected competition to recognize providers of quality, innovative food and beverage travel experiences.  Founded in late 2015 with a mere three categories, today the Awards have grown to recognize excellence and innovation in seven Important areas. The Awards are produced by the World Food Travel Association, the world’s leading authority on food and beverage tourism.

    The FoodTrekking Awards are different than other travel or food industry awards because they focus specifically on food and beverage tourism, the fastest growing sector of the travel industry world-wide.

    Past winners have included Bodegas Torres (Spain), GLP Films (USA), Food Playground (Singapore), Lip Smacking Foodie Tours (USA) and Jamaica Culinary Tours (Jamaica). Peruse other past Awards winners here.
     

    CATEGORIES OF RECOGNITION

    This year, the competition will recognize the following areas of importance to food- and drink-loving travelers:

    • Most Innovative Use of Local Ingredients in a Foodservice Menu
    • Best Creative Use of Space for a Food Lover Attraction
    • Most Innovative Food or Beverage Marketing Campaign for a Destination
    • Best Local Storytelling in a Food or Beverage Experience
    • Best Use of Food or Beverage for Cross-Cultural Understanding
    • Most Authentic Food or Beverage Visitor Experience
    • Best Food or Beverage Packaging Waste Reduction Campaign

     

    APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN

    Applications are now being accepted from any eligible business or destination located anywhere in the world. Interested parties can apply on the award’s website at www.FoodTrekkingAwards.org. Time is of the essence, as applications close May 31, 2019. Finalists will be announced over the summer, and winners will be introduced on stage at the official Awards Ceremony during the Association’s FoodTreX London | Food Travel Innovation Summit in London on November 3, 2019. Awards winners will also be invited to attend the summit as guests of the World Food Travel Association.


    MORE ABOUT ITEMS MENTIONED ABOVE ...
     

    MORE ABOUT THE FOODTREKKING AWARDS

    There are plenty of awards programs for the food, beverage, tourism or hospitality industries. The FoodTrekking Awards are different because they focus specifically on food and beverage tourism and experiences enjoyed by food-loving travelers. The FoodTrekking Awards are another food travel industry ‘first’ pioneered by the World Food Travel Association. 
     

    MORE ABOUT THE WORLD FOOD TRAVEL ASSOCIATION (WFTA)

    The World Food Travel Association (WFTA) was founded in 2003 as a non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO) and today is recognized as the world's leading authority on food and beverage tourism. Each year the Association serves nearly 100,000+ professionals in over 100 countries. The WFTA’s knowledge, tools and training help trade professionals and organizations to leverage their area's food and beverage products and experiences to help create a strong sense of place, which increases visitor arrivals; destination brand equity; and export demand for their area's food and beverage products. Learn more at www.worldfoodtravel.org.
     

    MORE ABOUT FOOD TOURISM

    Learn more about what food tourism is, which business sectors it includes and the benefits of being involved at www.WhatIsFoodTourism.org.
     

    MORE ABOUT FOODTREX LONDON

    The FoodTreX London | Food Travel Innovation Summit is the World Food Travel Association's flagship event. Held every November on the day before the start of the renowned World Travel Market, FoodTreX London is the food travel industry's premier forum for information exchange, idea sharing and networking with other food and beverage tourism industry professionals from around the world. The next FoodTreX London will take place on Sunday, November 3, 2019. Learn more about the WFTA’s FoodTreX events portfolio at www.foodtrex.org.

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  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Just Released! Podcast Episode #19 Christie Peters Skip the Easy Money see more

    Just released! In this episode #19 of Eat Well Travel Better, join us as we speak with Christie Peters, a former model, who left her modeling career to return to her hometown, Saksatoon, in the Canadian prairies, a land of opportunity, a kind of wild west, where innovative and passionate entrepreneurs can do more and innovate more quickly than in a bigger city. Today Christie is the successful Chef/Owner of The Hollows and Primal Pasta restaurants in Saskatoon, Canada. Through her unconventional sourcing and matching of the ingredients found in the harsh climate of the province of Saskatchewan, Christie has been able to achieve a remarkable level of recognition in just a few short years. 

    In this episode you'll learn:

    • Make it nice or make it twice
    • Why slow and steady wins the race
    • Why you should skip the easy money
    • How waste is money
    • Watching the small details can add up to big savings
    • What you can do to avoid paying for advertising
    • What you can do to avoid having to repeat tasks


    LISTEN NOW:

     

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Food Tourism, Gastronomy and Local Cuisine opinion/editorial by Maria Athansopoulou see more

    Article submitted by Maria AthanasopoulouCertified Ambassador
    of the World Food Travel Association in Greece and Master Culinary Travel Professional


    In recent years, due to my particular interest in food tourism, I have come in contact and spoken with tourism professionals from all over the world.

    Every day I find that most of them confuse food tourism with gastronomy, considering it is exactly the same thing!

    But is that right?

    The truth is, that gastronomy and food tourism are two different things. In fact, the second requires the first one. In other words, in order to have food tourism, gastronomy must exist. Let's look at some basic definitions of both.

    Gastronomy is “the art and knowledge involved in preparing and eating good food”  - Cambridge English Dictionary

    "Food tourism is the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place." -  World Food Travel Association

    It is clear from the above, that the concepts of gastronomy and food tourism are relevant but not the same.

    The same applies to the concepts of local cuisine or local gastronomy and food tourism. Local gastronomy is the product that food tourism offers to visitors. It is what the gastro – tourists are interested in.

    For example, the food traveler visits the Cycladic islands in Greece, in order to experience their local cuisine through various activities. The visitor's purpose is to participate in local gastronomic experiences.

    These gastro-tourist experiences will eventually help create the final impression that visitors have about the food tourism that the place offers. And this impression, and memory, is what will determine if a place can really become a popular food tourism destination.

    Gastronomy, Local Cuisine and Food Tourism are three separate things but one touches each other and many parameters are common to all three concepts. However, in order to successfully develop food tourism in a destination, it should be made clear to stakeholders, that gastronomy and food tourism are two different things!

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Sessions announced for FoodTreX Global | Online Food Travel Summit April 17-18 see more

    The FoodTreX Global | Online Food Travel Summit is back and taking place this year on April 17-18. So far, 9 fantastic sessions have been scheduled over two days. One day is oriented towards businesses and entrepreneurs, while the second day is oriented more towards destination marketers and governments. Everyone (trade, media, academic, consumer, etc.) is welcome to attend either day or both days. FoodTreX Global is produced by the World Food Travel Association, the world's leading authority on, and oldest organization devoted to, food and beverage tourism.

     

    Learn More & Register Now

     

    So far confirmed sessions and speakers include: 

    Day 1, April 17, 2019, Entrepreneurship & Business Focused

    What Matters Today in Food Tourism, Erik Wolf, World Food Travel Association (Portland | London | Barcelona)

    What is the Undeniable Value of Social Responsibility in Food Tourism? Chantal Cooke, Passion for the Planet (United Kingdom)

    How to Set the Tone for Your Visitors' Experience, Concetta D'Emma, Unconventional Breakfasts (Italy)

    Why Meeting Your Food-Loving Customers Expectations Is Your Next Best Marketing Tool, Eskerne Falcon, Discover San Sebastian (Spain)

     

    Day 2, April 18, 2019, Destination Marketing Focused

    What is Food Sport & What Can it Offer Destinations? Mike McCloud, MMA Creative (USA)

    How a Sustainable Food/ Beverage Tourism Strategy Can Work for Destinations, World Food Travel Association (Portland | London | Barcelona)

    What Destinations Should Be Doing Differently With Social Media, Shonette Laffy, Destination Bristol (United Kingdom)

    How Rural Areas Can Attract More Visitors, Olivia Duff, Headfort Arms Hotel & Boyne Valley (Ireland)

    How To Differentiate Your Destination With Its Immigrant Culinary Cultures, Donna Keren, NYC & Company (USA) 

     

    Learn More & Register Now

     

    Pricing is only US$59 for one day or US$99 for both days. Members and Certified Ambassadors of the World Food Travel Association check in your Members Area once logged in for your discount codes.

     

    It is also worth mentioning that the second day of FoodTreX Global overlaps with World Food Travel Day, a virtual event designed to draw attention to preserving and promoting local culinary cultures around the planet, and an important area in need of attention, according to findings from industry experts interviewed in the World Food Travel Association's 2019 State of the Food Travel Industry Report. Learn about World Food Travel Day and what you can do go be involved.

     

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Just Released! Ground-Breaking New State of the Food Travel Industry Report see more

    Today the World Food Travel Association (WFTA) released its latest publication for the food and beverage tourism industry, an entirely revamped State of the Food Travel Industry Report, featuring original, ground-breaking research.

    Report Summary

    The 62-page report compiles the opinions, suggestions and comments from 71 food and beverage tourism industry experts from 20 countries. The report looks at the performance of food and beverage tourism providers, and suggests ways they can improve, such as by developing or improving food and drink activities. It also looks at key food tourism issues overall, along with ways our industry can better match traveler expectations. Considerable attention is given to preserving culinary authenticity, and why it is important to educate visitors, offering them a memory and not just a meal.

    Key Takeaways

    Some of the key takeaways from the report include:

    1. Travelers and consumers alike are more obsessed than ever with everything having to do with food and drink. Interest continues to increase thanks largely to the role of social media.
    2. Providing a genuinely authentic product or experience is essential. Visitors are increasingly knowledgeable about, and demanding of, authenticity in food/drink products and experiences.
    3. The need for cultural preservation is urgent, and not limited to cuisine, as other manifestations of culture, such as music, clothing/fashion, architecture and more are threatened by globalization.
    4. Failure to support small food/beverage businesses will result in hastening towards globalization of the so-called “local” experience, thereby completely negating one of the main reasons to travel for food and drink, as destinations are already beginning to resemble each other more and more.
    5. At the same time, residents would benefit from knowing more about the history of iconic culinary products and traditions in their area, and why preserving culinary culture is a tool for economic development. Therefore local residents should be considered an important target market.
    6. The food/drink experiences provided by businesses and destinations often don’t match visitor expectations. Businesses need to understand that they are selling not just a food/beverage product but also an experience. If visitor (customer) expectations are not met, negative word-of-mouth ensues. Know your customer journey and plan accordingly to help prevent that.
    7. The benefits of developing food tourism go well beyond actual tourism. Food tourism is not just about attracting more visitors who generate a positive economic impact with their spending. It can also help protect local heritage by putting the spotlight on local food and drink, conveying a sense of pride to local residents, and even fostering post-trip demand for product exports.

     

    Get a Free Copy of the Report

    Register for a free copy of the report. The report is another way that the World Food Travel Association (WFTA) leads with firsts for the world’s food and beverage tourism industry.

     

    About the World Food Travel Association

    The World Food Travel Association (WFTA) was founded in 2003 as a non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO) and is considered the world's leading authority on food and beverage tourism. The Association’s mission is to empower local communities and businesses with the food and beverage tourism knowledge and tools needed to reach new consumers and gain a competitive edge. Each year the Association serves the needs of nearly 100,000+ professionals in over 100 countries.

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Meet Max Thammaraks, the World Food Travel Association's newest Ambassador in Thailand see more

    The World Food Travel Association is pleased to announce our newest Ambassador, Max Thammaraks, from Thailand.  

    Max was well travelled from a young age; taking holidays and studying abroad from early childhood. His family owns Intco, a bespoke travel business and handling agents for international tour companies, now in its fifth decade of operation. Since taking the helm of the business in 2008, Max has expanded its scope, reach and services to meet the needs of today’s travellers, most recently focusing on food tourism and custom catering. He serves as the company's Managing Director.

    “Wherever I go, food and drinks are an integral part of my travel experience,” said Max, a bon vivant, of his passion for food and wines. “Food is of importance to each and every culture and can be instrumental in allowing a visitor to get a taste of a culture and destination.”

    Max a certified sommelier who owns a few resorts and restaurants across Thailand. Among them is renowned Wine Casa, an Italian restaurant and wine bar in the family hotel, The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa, in Northern Thailand, as well as holding shares in numerous restaurants in Bangkok. “Food, beverages and travel have been my lifelong passion; I grew up with it and therefore I want to promote it and be involved in any way possible.”

    We sat down with Max and asked him a few questions about himself, his passions and his plans. Here is what he shared:

    WFTA: Max, what does your company Intco do?

    Max:  We are a premier travel agency with decades of expertise. We specialize in bespoke programs which are tailored to each group’s specific needs.  

    WFTA: When and how did your interest in food/beverage tourism begin?

    Max: I have always had personal interest in food, beverages and travel. Whenever I travel and wherever I go, I find food and drinks to be an integral part of the experience. Food is of importance to each and every culture and can be instrumental in allowing a visitor to get a taste of a culture and destination. As a rule of thumb in wine, “what grows together, goes together”, I find exploring each unique location’s produce, cuisine and beverages fascinating and of course fun; whether it be wine, beer, cocktails or coconut juice. 

    WFTA: What are your favorite food/beverage destinations and why do you like them?

    Max: Bangkok is the epicenter of Thai cuisine where you can find representations from all of Thailand’s culinary regions. What is extraordinary is the sheer diversity which you can find in every corner of the city, ranging from amazing street food stalls to the river market; from Michelin stared restaurants to the best China town in the world with over 200 years of history. Bangkok is also where all the abundant resources from all over Thailand come together in the local markets and restaurants. Of late this has become more and more recognised internationally, as Bangkok’s dining scene is becoming increasingly renowned for its gourmet restaurants and extraordinary bars.

    As a fan of French food and wine, Lyon is my food Mecca. It’s hard for me to pick just a couple of gourmet cities, since there are more than a dozen that I love. But if I must, I would have to pick Lyon as France's best gastronomic secret. Lyon is home, or nearby neighbor, to some of France’s finest produce - fish, chicken, pork, cheese, game, meats. It is there that I find joy in the simplest pleasures. A humble bistro and brasserie may pair exquisite local meats and cheeses with a delicious wine from Rhone to create a memorable experience. (If you were to ask my wife, I usually get a bit excited and over indulge whenever I land in Lyon.) While the cuisine often appears simplistic, it is honed to perfection through centuries of passion and on closer inspection, is as cutting edge and sophisticated as any nouvelle cuisine to be found in Paris.  

    And then San Diego – it is the breeze, the sunshine and the cool vibes of the city which is celebrated in its cuisine. The seafood is fresh, abundant and delicious. It is the capital of craft beer in the U.S and the local wine scene is very interesting with organic wines from the area sitting side by side on the shelf with Mexican wines. Being by the border, the Mexican food there is the best and most authentic in the States. San Diego is also jam packed with exciting districts such as the Glaslamp Quarter, where there are fun activities and cool people to meet all day and all night. 

    WFTA: Why did you join the World Food Travel Association?

    Max: Food, beverages and travel have been my lifelong passion; I grew up with it and therefore I want to promote it and be involved in any way possible.  I enjoy meeting with similar minds and learning from them of their food journey and what they have done on their home turf and hopefully I can find inspiration to do something similar with my mine.

    WFTA: What can we expect to see next from you or your company? Do you have an upcoming milestone that you would like to share?

    Max: I want to expand my company into the food and travel business. We want to further establish ourselves in the catering business and one-of-a-kind food tours. 

    WFTA: What advice do you have for prospective members of the Association? Why should they join?

    Max: The association is well established and has a solid plan to expand in the future. Plus you will meet many great minds in the food and travel business. 

    WFTA: When you hear the phrase “authentic Thai” what comes to mind?

    Max: Nothing is set in stone, nor black and white in Thailand’s rich and varied food scape. There is no absolute, no rigid rule and no definitive text book to follow. Like many other of the world’s great cuisines, Thai cuisine is complex, varied, regional, traditional as well as progressive. And that is what makes it special and exciting; its ability to adapt and adopt. The truth is that many Thai dishes are reinterpreted foreign imports: my favorite ‘krapao kai’ (chicken with Thai basil) originated in China, while some of my favorite desserts were introduced to our Royal courts by the wife of a Portuguese Ambassador over four centuries ago. Thai cuisine as we know it is exciting and constantly changing, never afraid of experimentation, taking chances and being creative.    

    Welcome, Max. We look forward to hearing more stories from you about Thailand. Interested parties can get in touch with Max through his website here.

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    FoodTreX Pamplona (February 21-22) Final Program Announced see more

    The final program for FoodTreX Pamplona has just been announced. You can download it here (both Spanish and English-language versions are available).

    View the Program Now

    Join us February 21-22 in Navarre, Spain for FoodTreX Pamplona, the most important gastronomy tourism trade conference that is held in Spain.  A fundamental objective of the Second International Conference on Gastronomy Tourism, FoodTrex Pamplona, is to bring you speakers, tools, ideas and best practices to develop products that visitors want, and to learn how to promote products and experiences to visitors in the best possible way. As one of the food tourism industry’s leading events for the trade, you’ll meet leaders, experts, influencers and practitioners from all around the world, who will present ideas to help grow your business and improve the experiences you offer.

    Better gastronomy-oriented businesses and experiences can bring more visitors, more income and local taxes, better community development, and more product exports. This is a critical discovery identified by expert panelists in the 2019 State of the Food Travel Industry Report by the World Food Travel Association. Without the proper direction and planning however, a destination's food tourism potential may remain untapped, or fall into an unsustainable pattern that undermines its future. The goal should be to provide meaningful food and drink related experiences that give visitors a true taste of your destination and create raving fans, convinced guests who will continue to promote your product or destination long after they depart. Attend FoodTreX Pamplona to get the proper direction you need to succeed, including answers to questions such as:

    • How to identify opportunities and define achievable objectives.
    • How to create an effective development strategy.
    • How to involve all the actors in the development strategy.
    • How to create Gastronomic Tourism experiences.
    • How to reach the customer.
    • How to adapt to the market.
    • What are the latest trends and fashions embraced by food lovers.

    Over 25 confirmed speakers for the two-day conference include:

    • Erik Wolf, World Food Travel Association, USA.
    • Marc Crothall, Food Tourism Board and Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scotland, UK.
    • Dra. Luisa Puppo, Ligucibario, Italy.
    • Chantal Cooke, Passion for the Planet, UK.
    • Clara Bosh, Ruta del Vino Somontano, Spain.
    • Sophie Cassis, Green Haven Gardens and Le Bon Goût Frais des Îles de la Madeleine, Québec, Canada.
    • Margarita Calleja, Extremadura Turismo, Spain.
    • Kathryn Davis, Visit Bristol, UK.
    • Antoni Aguiló. Fra Roger Association for Food and Culture, Menorca, Spain.
    • Kosuke Nakamori, Manager, Japan National Tourism Organization, Japan.

    If you're in the area, or if food tourism in Spain is important to you, you cannot afford to miss this major industry event.

    Will we see you February 21-22 in Navarre, Spain

    Register Now for FoodTreX Pamplona

    FoodTreX Pamplona is kindly supported by:

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Just Released! Podcast Episode 18: Michele Morris - Make Lemonade When Life Gives You Lemons see more

    In this episode #18 of Eat Well Travel Better, join us as we speak with Michele Morris, an award-winning cookbook author and freelance food writer. As a recipe developer and food photographer, she has worked with clients like Niman Ranch and Prairie Grove Farms. She publishes two popular blogs – a food blog with over 1000 recipes, and a travel blog featuring over 150 locations around the world with a heavy emphasis on the food and wine. Both blogs feature Michele’s photography. Although she only recently discovered her Italian roots, Italy holds a special place in Michele’s heart. She’s traveled to Rome nearly 20 times and leads culinary tours in southern Italy. When home in Denver, Michele volunteers extensively in her community.

     

    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

     

    LISTEN NOW 

  • 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

     

    LISTEN NOW 

  • World Food Travel Association posted an article
    Join us February 21-22, 2019 for FoodTreX Pamplona, in Navarre, Spain. see more

    Join us February 21-22 in Navarre, Spain for FoodTreX Pamplona, the most important gastronomy tourism trade conference that is held in Spain.  A fundamental objective of the Second International Conference on Gastronomy Tourism, FoodTrex Pamplona, is to bring you speakers, tools, ideas and best practices to develop products that visitors want, and to learn how to promote products and experiences to visitors in the best possible way. As one of the food tourism industry’s leading events for the trade, you’ll meet leaders, experts, influencers and practitioners from all around the world, who will present ideas to help grow your business and improve the experiences you offer.

    Better gastronomy-oriented businesses and experiences can bring more visitors, more income and local taxes, better community development, and more product exports. This is a critical discovery identified by expert panelists in the 2019 State of the Food Travel Industry Report by the World Food Travel Association. Without the proper direction and planning however, a destination's food tourism potential may remain untapped, or fall into an unsustainable pattern that undermines its future. The goal should be to provide meaningful food and drink related experiences that give visitors a true taste of your destination and create raving fans, convinced guests who will continue to promote your product or destination long after they depart. Attend FoodTreX Pamplona to get the proper direction you need to succeed, including answers to questions such as:

    • How to identify opportunities and define achievable objectives.
    • How to create an effective development strategy.
    • How to involve all the actors in the development strategy.
    • How to create Gastronomic Tourism experiences.
    • How to reach the customer.
    • How to adapt to the market.
    • What are the latest trends and fashions embraced by food lovers.

    Over 25 confirmed speakers for the two-day conference include:

    • Erik Wolf, World Food Travel Association, USA.
    • Marc Crothall, Food Tourism Board and Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scotland, UK.
    • Dra. Luisa Puppo, Ligucibario, Italy.
    • Chantal Cooke, Passion for the Planet, UK.
    • Clara Bosh, Ruta del Vino Somontano, Spain.
    • Sophie Cassis, Green Haven Gardens and Le Bon Goût Frais des Îles de la Madeleine, Québec, Canada.
    • Margarita Calleja, Extremadura Turismo, Spain.
    • Kathryn Davis, Visit Bristol, UK.
    • Antoni Aguiló. Fra Roger Association for Food and Culture, Menorca, Spain.
    • Kosuke Nakamori, Manager, Japan National Tourism Organization, Japan.

    If you're in the area, or if food tourism in Spain is important to you, you cannot afford to miss this major industry event.

    Learn more and register here.

     

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    What's your reason to travel? Would you travel for chain coffee or hamburgers? We didn't think so. see more

    Earlier this winter, I paid a visit to a European city whose name I won't disclose. The city offers friendly people, and a nice food and drink scene. Another bonus is that it is relatively unknown for these positive traits, so there are not so many tourists to contend with. 

    Walking around the city, I came upon a Christmas market, as one might during the wintertime. I walked around the market to see all the vendor stalls. Of the dozens of stalls, I counted only about 5 vendors that sold locally-made products, two of which were alcoholic beverages and the other 3 were locally-made crafts. Of the craft producers, nothing was particularly interesting or unique. One vendor was selling handmade stained-glass figures, one of which was a butterfly for the equivalent price of about US$280. I'm all for supporting local producers of any kind, but not at that price. Today, right now, on the popular Etsy website featuring handmade items, I found another beautiful butterfly (OK, not the same one, but actually, prettier) for the equivalent price of about US$35, including postage. Which do you think I'm going to choose? And all of the other vendors were selling items that looked like they easily could have been manufactured cheaply overseas, and maybe even sourced at any of the discounted 1 dollar/1 pound/1 euro stores. No one would be impressed.

    Then I began to think, for anyone who had traveled to this city for the Christmas Market, they would have been woefully disappointed. It got me thinking about motivation for travel in general, and other famous Christmas markets in the world, such as Krakow or Munich. People travel to these cities specifically to visit these world-class markets. I then began to think about food lovers and how we choose destinations. At the same Christmas market mentioned above, there were no vendors selling interesting local foods (either packaged as gifts or as takeaway to eat then), but readily available were falafels, hot dogs, bulk candy and other foodstuffs you might expect to find at a food market anywhere else in the world. Perhaps the market was not intended to appeal to tourists. If it was designed for locals, then one would have to ask, why would anyone fight local traffic and expensive, hard-to-find, holiday parking for the opportunity to buy things you can find in cheap shops anyway? The quote, "There's a sucker born every minute," comes to mind right now, attributed to P. T. Barnum, an American businessman of the mid-19th century and creator of the world-famous circus bearing his name.

    I began thinking about a campaign from Visa (you know, the credit card processor) that advertised on the television during the holidays in the United Kingdom. The campaign encourages consumers to get out and spend money on the local high streets (i.e., the main shopping streets). Wanting to buy local is a sentiment that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy, but when the retailers on the high street are primarily coffee chains, discount chains and mobile phone stores, the fuzziness turns to annoying white noise.

    The solution is not so simple. For example, is a market like the one described above, an initiative from the local municipality, the area tourism office, an event producer, or a real estate developer? Each of these potential stakeholders has a different motivation to produce and manage a local market. Their end results can be vastly different from each other as well. Or are business taxes (rates) so high in the city center, that no local business can afford a store of its own (at least if it wants its prices to be competitive). Take a stroll down the high street of most cities in the UK. You'll see Vodafone, next to Costa, next to Poundland, next to Card Factory, next to a Boots pharmacy, next to an EE mobile phone store, next to a charity shop, you get the idea. It's not all doom and gloom. Occasionally you might find a locally-owned cafe, pub or restaurant, or a quality attraction like the Shakespeare museum and giftshop in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The situation is similar in other cities in Europe, North America and Asia. Replace Costa with Starbucks in North America, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in Asia, you get the idea. Is anyone else noticing a trend?

    Another factor to consider is the increasing threat of the mass homogenization of food cultures, a trend noted by the expert panelists we surveyed in our 2019 State of the Food Travel Industry report. Given the fact that authenticity is the #1 motivator for food-loving travelers, a local high street (main street) featuring Costa and Starbucks, for example, is not going to motivate any food- or drink-loving traveler to visit, despite how elated the locals might be at the offering. People travel for many different reasons, e.g. to visit friends and relatives; to attend business meetings; to attend a conference or trade show; for sightseeing; for theater and shopping; for adventure and recreation; and of course, for food and drink. What happens if the destination's authentic offerings are decimated or eliminated? Then suddenly, the destination is no longer of interest to influential food- and drink-loving travelers. In such an instance, we would say that the destination is nearing, or at the end of, its food tourism destination life cycle. Literally all of the expert panelists we surveyed in the report all agreed that “providing an authentic experience to visitors” is a critical goal of food tourism, and 97% felt that “protecting local heritage through food and drink” is also an important goal of food tourism.

    Destinations seeking to attract food lovers need to look at the quality and uniqueness of what is on offer. If the items for sale in a market are mass produced trinkets and copies of touristy souvenirs, then there is little to no appeal. Similarly, if the only foods that we can find are those sold anywhere else on the planet, then there is no incentive to travel to your destination because of the food or drink. On the other hand, if those same Etsy-style local craftspeople and artisanal style food and drink producers were encouraged, and incentivized, to take a stall at the market, there would be a significant reason for locals and visitors alike to come and visit the market, at any time of year.

    Food for thought.

    Read This on My Medium Channel

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    Donate to our food tourism education scholarship campaign today - & qualify for a tax deduction see more

    We have always done things a little differently here at the World Food Travel Association, so instead of giving offers for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, we have taken a different approach that is true to our mission.

    Today we launched our Don't Feast Alone scholarship fundraising campaign to make more scholarships of our Association's food tourism education products available to people in need, i.e. students and recent graduates, the unemployed, the homeless, those with a disability of any kind, and those with any other demonstrable need. In 2018, we granted 48 scholarships for our Association's educational products. We hope to break that record by a huge number in 2019, and we need your help to do that.

    When you donate at various levels, you can get a wide variety of goodies that may include:

    Our organization is classified as a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization in the United States. Therefore your donation is either tax deductible as a charitable donation (US individuals and corporations) or as a marketing expense (other countries). When your donation is complete, you will receive an official donation receipt for your records.

    LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN & DONATE NOW

    Our goal this year is to raise US$5000, which can pay for enrollment for those in need for 50 Masterclasses, 8 registrations for our FoodTreX London Food Travel Innovation Summit, or as many as 100 registrations to one of our Regional Food Travel Summits.

    No amount is too small, and if you're able to give more, you'll get more in return. It's our way of saying thanks. If you were thinking about joining as a member, or taking advantage of any of our other products, now is the time to do so for the greatest value.

    Help kickstart someone's career and bring the gift of quality food tourism education and training to more people who truly need it. Thank you.

    Erik Wolf
    Executive Director

    PS Can we count on you? If every person receiving this message gave only US$20, we would meet our goal in under 8 hours!


    LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN & DONATE NOW

    PPS Are you a candidate for one of our scholarships? Learn more and apply now.

    And thank you again for reaching deep into your pockets this holiday season!

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    The World Food Travel Association announces the 2018 FoodTrekking Awards Winners in London. see more

    The World Food Travel Association is pleased to announce the winners of the latest round of the FoodTrekking Awards competition to recognize excellence and innovation in the food and beverage tourism industry. 

    The 2018 FoodTrekking Awards Ceremony was held after the Association's FoodTreX London | Food Travel Innovation Summit on November 4, 2018. Below is a list of the winners for the categories that received awards.

    We congratulate this year's winners for their leadership and vision in our industry.

    The next round of the FoodTrekking Awards will open on March 15, 2019 and close on May 31, 2019. Winners for this round will be announced at the next FoodTreX London | Food Travel Innovation Summit on November 3, 2019.  Nine categories of excellence and innovation in food and beverage tourism will be recognized.

    Learn more about the Awards on the FoodTrekking Awards website. 


    Best Conversion of Historic Building as a Food Lover Attraction

    The Food House at The Green Museum, Djursland, Denmark

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Best Local Storytelling in a Food or Beverage Experience

    GLP Films, USA

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Best Use of Food/Beverage for Cross-Cultural Understanding

    Food Playground Pte Ltd, Singapore


    Most Authentic Food or Beverage Tour Operator Experience

    Jamaica Culinary Tours, Falmouth, Jamaica

     

    "We are truly elated at receiving this recognition at the international level, and buoyed to continue growing our Company as we develop other tours which tell the story of our peoples, culture and history through our food." - Janet Crick, Owner, Jamaica Culinary Tours

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Note: there were two Awards cycles in 2018 in order to align our Awards Ceremony with our FoodTreX London | Food Travel Innovation Summit in early November. The winners above are for the late 2018 cycle. Starting with 2019, there will be only one awards cycle. Visit the Awards website for more details.

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    World Food Travel Association announces newest Advisor Traveling Spoon's Aashi Vel see more

    The World Food Travel Association is pleased to introduce today its newest member of the Board Advisors, Aashi Vel, with Traveling Spoon. Aashi is originally from India, and has been living in the United States for over 20 years.

    Aashi was an industrial designer for over 11 years and has designed several award-winning consumer and medical products. She has always had a deep passion for food and travel and decided to pursue an MBA from the University of California-Berkeley to start a food company. Before starting business school, she was in Mexico on vacation and struggled to find authentic Mexican cuisine. One day on her way to a restaurant, she passed a local Mexican woman’s home. She saw her cooking and wished she could eat at her home and hear her stories instead of just visiting a restaurant. This was the genesis of her food tourism company Traveling Spoon, which provides travelers with private and authentic food experiences in people's homes around the world. It also gives local hosts the opportunity to become micro-entrepreneurs, making money doing what they love - cooking, eating and sharing their culture.

    Aashi is delighted to become a member of the Association's community. She believes food allows people to truly open up and share stories. It is the catalyst to foster a meaningful connection to the local culture. She is determined to make the world a smaller place by connecting travelers to amazing locals so that they can better understand each other’s culture – the true power of travel.

    Aashi's favorite food/beverage destinations are Japan, Thailand and India. She admires Japanese chefs' dedication to perfecting their craft. She still remembers how artfully a ramen chef put together every bowl of ramen in Tokyo at his 8-person restaurant bar that was devoted to only serving ramen. The balance of flavors in Thai dishes from laap pla duk, a Northern Thai minced catfish salad to pla kapong neung manao, steamed whole fish in a fresh lime, garlic, and chili sauce scintillate her taste buds. The variety of flavors (Indian food in the US tends to be Northern Indian but each state of India has a distinctive cuisine) and the health benefits of Indian food is something she is excited to educate people about.

    She chose to become part of the World Food Travel Association family to be able to better provide entrepreneurs with advice on starting their own businesses, as well as to promote gastrodiplomacy around the world. Aashi also co-hosts the Association's Eat Well Travel Better Podcast with the Association's Founder and Executive Director Erik Wolf. As a member of the Board of Advisors, Aashi is also a Certified Ambassador of the Association.

    Welcome, Aashi!

  • Erik Wolf posted an article
    World Food Travel Association's New Donate Now Campaign Will Create Scholarships for Those in Need see more

    Today the World Food Travel Association, the world's leading authority on food and beverage tourism, announced another industry innovation - its Donate Now scholarship campaign to help those in need of quality education in food and beverage tourism. The purpose of the campaign is to create scholarships for eligible recipients to be able to learn and grow professionally, and prepare for the workforce and a successful travel, hospitality, food or beverage career.

    To kick off the Donate Now campaign, the Association has earmarked a minimum of US$5000 worth of scholarships for eligible candidates to attend its FoodTreX London | Food Travel Innovation Summit taking place November 4 in London. Specific scholarship opportunities will vary throughout the year.

    Eligible scholarship recipients include students, unemployed, retired, military veteran, mobility-challenged and homeless individuals.

    The Association is registered in the US State of Oregon as a charitable educational institution and is authorized by the United States Government to issue official donation receipts, which can be used to minimize tax burdens for eligible individuals and corporations. 

    Donations up to US$500 can be made directly online, while larger donations are handled offline. Individual and corporate donors will receive an official receipt on Association letterhead, and your donation may be deductible for income tax purposes (we do not provide tax or financial advice; consult your local accountant).

    As you think about your end-of-year tax planning, please remember the Association and make a generous donation to help relieve your own tax burden, while helping those in need. The Association also welcomes donations from individual estates and trusts. Please get in touch at help(at)worldfoodtravel(dot)org to discuss making an individual or corporate donation or donate now online.

    Learn More & Donate Now

    Apply for a Scholarship