Culinary tourism has become more romantic, exotic, and adventurous than ever before! It might surprise you that today's culinary travelers are not necessarily all foodies or gourmets. There's a mainstream deep interest in food and in feeling a connection to food while on vacation.
According to data compiled by Source SKIFT Research, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, food and beverage takes about 25 percent share of the total spending by U.S. travelers. The most common culinary interests are eating and drinking locally, engaging in cooking classes with locals, eating in homes, partaking in street food vendors, walking the food and drink trails, and visiting distilleries, wineries and factories.
But for bragging rights and “off-the-beaten-path” experiences, it's becoming the trend to find unique ways to include food and local ingredients into the itinerary. The more adventuresome traveler might ride a rickshaw into the spice markets of India and learn the craft of Indian cooking and cuisine in a simple village, while savoring the prepared meal with a local family. People want to experience something new and unique, they want to learn and return home with new skills and knowledge when engaging in food and with food.
Also, the new trend of walking on food and drink trails, are becoming sought after for their interactive, educational and social components. The Denver Beer Trail, Austrian Schnapps Trail, Columbus Coffee Trail, and Santa Fe Margarita Trail are a popular niche in culinary tourism.
A fun and unique idea through website VisitSweden has launched The Edible Country, a truly unique and romantic culinary experience. Within this experience, four Michelin star Swedish chefs take travelers into the wilderness (offered in various regions of the country), where they prepare a nine-course meal made from things they catch and find in nature. The meal is served on a beautiful wooden dining table in nature, in the woods, which adds such an exotic element to the experience.
As culinary travel continues to soar, and experiences are becoming more authentic, educational and local, today’s traveler is certain to have a memorable and meaningful food-related experience. Whether an avid foodie, gourmet cook, or casual lover of food, I encourage you to “TRAVEL THE WORLD. FEED YOUR SOUL.” ~MY