1. Embrace the paradigm shift

With a keen awareness of overtourism, the carbon footprint of travelers and the impact of tourism on local communities, there has been a paradigm shift towards the ‘success’ of a destination. The new definition of success is quality over quantity and a qualitative over quantitative assessment of its impact.

Destination marketers must embrace this shift and design tourism approaches that create value for the entire destination, including businesses, residents, and other stakeholders.

2. Stay a step ahead

Gastronomy tourism continuously evolves and changes. Destination marketers need to be adaptable and frequently review your existing offering. When necessary, update current products or innovate with new ones to continue to attract food-loving travelers in an efficient and sustainable way. The future will not be like the present, so be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Get ready to do business differently.

3. Honor your environment

The quality and quantity of food production and related activities affect your destination’s terroir and environment. By encouraging and supporting positive, circular, green and blue economy-related practices (e.g. food waste management, reduced plastic use, recycling and upcycling, as well as water and energy management), you will help your destination’s environment to flourish sustainably. This will help to generate new jobs, taxes and other benefits.

4. Prioritize local resources & residents

Using local produce supports your area’s local economy and is sustainable because generally, smaller-scale enterprises support agricultural diversification and help to reduce the carbon footprint. Embrace local farmers, businesses, cooperatives, and community groups to strengthen your destination’s offering and reduce imported goods. Showcase food-related activities like food festivals and farmers’ markets, always with a local focus. This also strengthens relationships between suppliers and consumers, both residents and visitors.

5. Celebrate your culture(s)

Sustainable development includes sociocultural considerations. Celebrate and promote your area’s culinary identities and heritage to help build and strengthen your destination's image and ‘authenticity’ – which is highly sought by food-loving travelers. Many ancestral agricultural traditions have evolved to be optimal for safeguarding and optimizing your area’s food production, mitigating environmental threats and impacts.

6. Engage your stakeholders

A rising tide floats all boats. A single gastronomic experience is unlikely to entice visitors to stay more than one day. For greater economic impact and more socio-cultural benefits, work with other area stakeholders, diverse groups (including indigenous), and even other destinations to develop a critical mass of culinary offerings. Stakeholders are not just restaurants and hotels. Crowdsource and find solutions together.

7. Focus on what your visitors really want

Design your products with travelers in mind. It is essential to understand the existing tourism marketplace for the area. Who are they and what do they want? If you know this, you can create complementary activities to satisfy the needs and desires of visitors and locals alike.

8. Annual not seasonal

Develop activities that suit year-round and not just seasonal visitors. For example, a ski resort can certainly focus on foraging, cooking lessons, nutrition classes and dining in the summer months. Take advantage of different seasons to diversify your product portfolio as a hedge against a downturn for any reason at other times of the year.

9. Recognize today’s consumers

Food lovers are not all the same. And we are also changing. Food allergies, dietary preferences, and more. We don’t stop being vegan, gluten-free or Halal while we are on holiday. And beyond special diets, practice empathy when it comes to diversity in age, physical or mental abilities, race, religion, sexuality and other criteria. By ensuring that your marketing campaign and practices reflect diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI), your destination will benefit from greater reach, higher purchase/visitor intent and renewed visitor loyalty.

10. Transform your tourism value chain

It is important to take the time to review, map and analyze your destination’s current tourism value chain. Identify activities, products, services and relationships across sectors to identify opportunities for sustainable development. Then implement specific targets, actions and a roadmap for all stakeholders to work towards to

achieve common sustainability goals. Lastly, don’t be shy to shout about your innovations and sustainability commitment. Let the world know how your destination and stakeholders are evolving to new demands.

Source: World Food Travel Association

Tags: Food Tourism