All Posts by WFTA

Episode 26: James Blick – Build Your Team to Build Your Business

In this episode #26, we speak with James Blick, co-founder of Devour Tours headquartered in Madrid. James is a Kiwi who moved to Spain after falling for a Spanish girl. As soon as James arrived in Spain, he left his advertising career and reinvented himself as an expert on all things Spanish. His path led to co-founding Devour Tours, as well as the creation of Spain Revealed, a popular YouTube channel with 350,000 monthly views that helps people to learn how to experience Spain like locals. His passion is to help people to travel deeply and memorably.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • The difference between authentic food and good food, and why you don’t necessarily need to have both or offer both at the same time.
  • Ways to minimize “overfoodtourism”
  • How the act of sharing food or drink together is an accelerator for friendships
  • How speaking directly can be so powerful
  • Why it is in your best interest to just launch your product or business, even before it is perfect

Discussed in this episode:
Devour Tours
Spain Revealed YouTube Channel
FoodTreX London | Food Travel Innovation Summit

September Town Hall Meeting | Food Tourism & Wellness

This month’s subject: Wellness & Food Tourism: Perfect Partners

Join us on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 as we talk with Camille Hoheb, President of Wellness Tourism Worldwide. This is the first in our series of new monthly Town Hall meetings that are a benefit exclusively for Silver & higher level members of our Association.

Food and wellness are perfect partners. Travelers want to feel their best while they are away. Not only do travelers want to experience local food, consumers today are making conscious food decisions to improve their sense of well-being, de-stress, boost their brain health and live longer. They also make conscious decisions about food choices like the ethical treatment of animals, fair wages, sustainability and the well-being of the planet. Consumers take their behaviors with them when traveling. That’s why the World Food Travel Association has teamed up again Wellness Tourism Worldwide, our strategic partner for many years. Wellness Tourism Worldwide has always had its finger on the pulse of wellness industry trends, and has reported on the key role of food in wellness travel since 2013.

Professionals in tourism, hospitality, food and beverage need to know how wellness integrates with the guest experience and the mindset of consumers today. The goal for both the business and the destination is raving fans – people who return home to rave about their time away – and also return home with knowledge gained from the trip that they want to talk about and share with others. Come join us at the virtual table for lively dialogue about the intersection of food and wellness tourism.

Q&A absolutely encouraged but you have to attend live to ask questions!


Day: Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Live Time:
14:00/2:00 PM London
09:00 AM New York City
22:00/10:00 PM Singapore
01:00/1:00 AM (next day) Sydney


Silver & above members of the World Food Travel Association please RSVP in the premium member lounge in our GastroTerra online community. Not a member yet? Join as a Silver member today and you’ll get access to this month’s meeting, plus future monthly live Town Hall meetings, and access the library of meeting recordings!

Episode 25: Anthony Creswell – Always Ask Why

Anthony Creswell

In this episode #25, we speak with Anthony Creswell. Born in England and emigrated to Ireland with his parents in 1963, Anthony has been involved in the world of wine and food since 1966. His first 20 years was spent in the world of wine, working with wine merchants, vineyards and wine producers before joining his father in Timoleague, Co. Cork in the late 1980's and taking over Ummera Smokehouse at the end of the last century. Since then he has concentrated on producing only the finest of products, from smoked organic salmon, to smoked chickens, smoked duck, smoked Picanha beef and smoked dry cured bacon.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • Why quality trumps quantity
  • Why consumers will always pay more for quality
  • If you can’t sell something, double the price and watch it sell out
  • How bureaucracy & rules can stymie small business growth
  • How an impressive visitor experience drives sales
  • Why you always need to ask why

Discussed in this episode:
Ummera Irish Smokehouse
Traveling Spoon

Thought Leadership | Leveraging the Power of Food Tourism: Food is the Glue

Leverage the Power of Food Tourism

by Erik Wolf

In the nearly 20 years of championing the food tourism (a.k.a. culinary tourism or gastronomy tourism) industry, you can imagine that we have noticed many things.

One thing we continue to notice, and which we don’t understand, is when destinations regard their food and beverage products and experiences as either something to look at in a museum, or something to be put on a shelf because it looks nice. And it should definitely be Instagrammable, right? Really, an area’s food and beverage industry is the glue that holds together the rest of the visitor’s experience.

Food-loving travelers are not “those people” who we politely poke fun at because “they” are obsessed with food. Our 2016 Food Travel Monitor research proved that food-loving travelers (and by extension, beverage-lovers) comprise 93% of all travelers today. In other words, almost every traveler is a food- (and beverage-) loving traveler. Destinations that treat their food and drink products and experiences separately from other tourism activities may actually be doing themselves a disservice.

We believe that food and beverage should serve as the foundation of every destination’s overall marketing strategy. Food and drink itself— which includes all kinds of products and experiences — is the foundation of every traveler’s overall impression of your destination.

Visitors eat three times per day, every day, day after day after day. Even the most enthusiastic travelers do not visit museums or attend cultural events that often. Travelers who stay in a destination for 7 days will have as few as 21 different food or beverage experiences. That equates to 3 per day for 7 days, not including snacks or late night drinks. Compare those 21 impressions to the 1 or 2 museums that the same traveler might visit during those 7 days. We see those 21 impressions as 21 new memories that can be created. We know that food and beverage make a longer lasting impression on people than other activities because all five human senses are involved. So what’s the takeaway? If you want people to leave with great memories of a destination, make sure they eat well — really well — while they are there. Have you heard the expression that the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach? Well, it’s true.

What does “eating and drinking well” mean to a traveler? Street food? Michelin stars? Local ingredients? Big portions? Lots of ale? Home cooking? That takes us back to our 13 PsychoCulinary profiles, but that’s a topic for another day.

Destinations and businesses need to regard their food and beverage industry as the glue that holds together every other part of the visitor’s tourism experience.

How does your destination or business regard your area’s food and drink? Let us know in the comments, or show us over on TwitterFacebookInstagram or LinkedIn.

Erik Wolf is the founder of the modern food travel trade industry, and also of the World Food Travel Association. He has served as the Association’s Executive Director since 2003.

Thought Leadership | Gastronomy tourism as a new way to tell old stories


By Maria Athanasopoulou

Those who work in the field of tourism know how crucial it is to constantly promote in new ways their destinations, tourism businesses, services and products. Travelers usually want to select a new destination to visit every year. If they do not find a new destination, and eventually decide to revisit a destination where they have traveled before, they need a new reason to do so. Travelers need a new perspective, a new approach that will convince them that even if they go to the same place, they will still have new experiences.

Each destination has already created its own brand name in the global tourism market. And it has linked its recognition and promotion to that brand name. Every place has created its own story, and it tells this story with the sole purpose of attracting more and more visitors. Entrepreneurs do this on their own for their companies, services and products.

This connection of the place to certain specific lodging properties on one hand is good because it creates a stability that leads to easier promotion to a larger audience. But as years go by, and the connection between the place or the individual businesses and hotels is not modernized, then the result can become negative. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem to be very popular to go somewhere where the pictures I see show me a place, a service, or a product that reminds me of the past. In a word, travelers crave novelty.

Of course the characteristics of a destination do not change, but we can talk about them in a completely different way. For example, instead of showing a well-known picture of a turquoise beach, we can add to this deserted beach a table full of enticing local dishes. It’s the same beach undoubtedly, but it immediately changes the whole meaning of the image, doesn’t it? In addition, we continue to refer to that famous beach itself, the photo of which is now familiar to the general public, surprising the viewer’s eye with an entirely new element.

As for the hotels, a nice and luxurious room is always an incentive for the visitor. But if you add to this luxurious room a tray with a generous breakfast on the bed, stating that this is a local breakfast, the picture immediately changes, making it more appealing.
Even the products or services will appear more attractive, if we change their image and focusing more on taste. Then they will be more focused to the target.

Destinations also have their own story. Every year, every destination in the world repeats its story to the tourists who visit it or to those who want to visit it. Every destination talks about its beauty, history and culture, in a global language, the language of tourism. What if we presented the “same things” but in a more attractive way? Realizing that history and culture are reflected in the local cuisine of a place, we have already taken a very big step towards that more attractive presentation.

For example, if conquerors have passed from one place, this would have definitely left a mark on some of its local recipes. If any place has a long history, it will surely show us some local dishes that have been cooked there since antiquity until today.

We can also draw many conclusions about a people’s culture by studying their eating habits. For example, we can easily conclude whether a country is hospitable or not whether it is within their people’s culture to have frequent guests during their family meals
Gastronomy tourism deals with all of the above, essentially trying to create tourism products that can effectively attract more tourists. Through the activities of gastronomic tourism, the visitor will surely learn about the history and culture of the region, its agriculture, its local products, and the philosophy of its inhabitants.

So gastronomy tourism is a new way to promote a destination. For example we can tour the city center, but not in the usual way. We can take a food tour of the city center and see its major sights again, this time enriching the tour by testing local specialties and products. This is another way to learn the same things. It’s another melody, but based on the same lyrics of an older song. As we said, a more modern approach to a destination or a hotel, or a tourist product in general, will recreate an image that may have become cliché and make it more popular.

Gastronomy tourism gives destination marketers and business owners alike, a novel way through which we can talk differently about our own place, our tourism business or our local product, We can once again tell our beautiful story to the world! With new words. With new ways. With flavors and aromas. With vivid descriptions and colorful images! And this story, our story, will become even more popular in this way!

Maria Athanasopoulou is owner of Respond on Demand and serves as one of the World Food Travel Association’s ambassadors in Greece. She is based in Thessaloniki.

News | FoodTrekking Awards Semi-Finalists Announced

FoodTrekking Awards

The World Food Travel Association is pleased to announce the semi-finalists of our 2019 FoodTrekking Awards competition for excellence and innovation in food and beverage tourism. The semi-finalists include:

The Peranakan Restaurant (Singapore)
Time Out Market Lisboa (Portugal)
Heirloom Fire (USA)
javara indonesia (Indonesia)
Jamaica Food and Drink Festival (Jamaica)
Destination Bristol (UK)
Sudamala Suites & Villas Senggigi (Indonesia)
Discover San Sebastian (Spain)
Portuguese Table (Portugal)
African Relish Recreational Cooking School (South Africa)
Oldways (USA)
Zingerman’s Food Tours (USA)
Good Indonesian Food (Indonesia)
Maine Food for Thought (USA)
Pipiltin Cocoa (Indonesia)
Local Aromas (Italy)
The Cadushy Distillery (Bonaire)
The Original Taste Of Hoi An (Vietnam)
Food Market Gypsy (USA)
Food Playground (Singapore)
NUSA Indonesian Gastronomy (Indonesia)
Esperienza (Italy)
Bike Food Stories (Italy)
Maiami Seafood Restaurant (Greece)
LEBONPICNIC Made in France (France)
Georgia National Tourism Administration (Georgia)
PT. Berkah Ukhuwah Bertiga (Indonesia)
Discover Boyne Valley Flavours (Ireland)
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (USA)

The above semi-finalists were chosen from all the entries across 7 awards categories. The winners will be announced on November 3 in London at the FoodTreX London | Food Travel Innovation Summit, where the FoodTrekking Awards Ceremony will close the day. Attend FoodTreX London for education and networking, and then stay to meet the Awards winners in person!

The FoodTrekking Awards are our industry’s first, largest and best-respected program that benchmarks and celebrates innovation and excellence in food and beverage tourism. Applications open for the next round of FoodTrekking Awards on March 1, 2020.


Thought Leadership | Leveraging the Power of Food Tourism: The USP

Leverage the Power of Food Tourism

by Erik Wolf

How can food tourism (culinary tourism, gastronomy tourism, wine tourism, beer tourism, et al, ad infinitum) actually help destination marketers and small business owners? The answer can be both easy or hard, and it depends on you. We hear this question a lot, and while the answer seems obvious to many of us, others might need some inspiration.

One of the founding tenets of food tourism, and one which we have always purported since our industry’s Day One, is that food and beverage tourism is really about those food and beverage products and experiences that are unique and memorable. In short, businesses that want to impress food-loving travelers should serve memories and not just meals.

There is fierce competition among hundreds of destinations for the same types of experiences. Potential travelers can choose sea, sand, history, culture, weather, culture, sport, gastronomy and any of hundreds more possible things to do, see, experience or enjoy. Your destination may no longer be able to stand on its own merit, even if great food and drink are available. Destinations cannot rest on your laurels. More on continuous innovation another day.

In fact, today great food and drink are assumed by travelers. This means there is fierce competition among businesses within destinations as well. Reheating prepared foodservice meals in the microwave? Shame on you. Food-loving travelers will know and tell other travelers as well. In this case, a “penny saved” is definitely not a “penny earned”.

What can destinations and businesses do to get their voices heard above the marketing noise? Focus on your USP, or unique selling proposition. What does your destination or business have that is different from other destinations or businesses?

Some destinations with a rich history of culinary culture may have several USPs. For example, the champagne method of producing sparkling wine, and also the country’s cheese and overall gastronomy. Other destinations may have their “one claim to fame” such as Cincinnati (Ohio, USA)’s chili.

For businesses, you might have to think a little harder. Fancier restaurants often offer diners a unique “amuse bouche” as a starter when they arrive. But the solution can be simple too — such as a signature wedge of lemon served on top of a Caesar salad, or a special “Nana’s recipe” sauce that would be hard for anyone to duplicate. Can’t think of anything really special that you offer? Consider carving out a vegan section on your menu, or specializing in gluten-free preparations. There are 1,001 ways to be unique. You get the idea.

What’s your destination or business culinary experience USP? Let us know in the comments, or show us over on TwitterFacebookInstagram or LinkedIn.

Like today’s food tourism inspiration? You can learn more about the power of food tourism at our FoodTreX London | Food Travel Innovation Summit, taking place every November on the day before World Travel Market begins.

Erik Wolf is the founder of the modern food travel trade industry, and also of the World Food Travel Association. He has served as the Association’s Executive Director since 2003.

News | World’s Largest Food Travel Trade Network Launched

GastroTerra Food Travel Trade Network

WFTA Launches World's Largest Food Travel Trade Network

Today the World Food Travel Association (WFTA) announced the launch of GastroTerra, the Association's new online community for professionals who are passionate about food and beverage tourism.

"We built GastroTerra to facilitate networking and learning among food & beverage tourism professionals worldwide. Before long, it will be the world's largest private network dedicated specifically to our industry." said the Association's Executive Director and food tourism industry founder Erik Wolf.

What is GastroTerra?
GastroTerra is a private and secure online food & beverage tourism community. It's kind of like LinkedIn meets Facebook, on a mobile app, with many more collaborative features and no distractions. While anyone is welcome to join, GastroTerra is designed specifically for the food and beverage tourism industry.

It's very easy to use and having it on your phone as a mobile app makes it accessible for everyone to participate and stay connected on a daily basis.  GastroTerra is completely free of advertising so you can focus on what matters: building new business relationships and growing your professional knowledge.

Why Join GastroTerra?
GastroTerra is the best place to network with other food and beverage tourism industry professionals. It is where you can find inspiration, ideas, guidance, networking, and industry camaraderie.

In addition to the launch of GastroTerra, the Association also rolled out a long list of new member benefits for its premium members and also a new free membership level. New benefits include exclusive education and research resources; useful tools to facilitate work with your local area; monthly webinars; sector specific discussion groups; a food travel trade event calendar; and many more. Learn more about GastroTerra and the new benefits.

Last but not least, GastroTerra is brought to you by the World Food Travel Association, a name you know and trust in food and beverage tourism. So what are you waiting for? We hope to see you over at GastroTerra soon!

Take a look at what the mobile app version of the GastroTerra community looks like:

Episode 24: Rob Holmes – The Power of Story

Rob Holmes The Business of Food Travel Podcast

In this episode #24, we speak with Rob Holmes. Rob is the Founder & Chief Strategist of GLP Films, an award-winning content marketing agency dedicated to authentic storytelling and ROI-based distribution campaigns for the travel industry. Since founding GLP in 2008, Rob has harnessed the power of storytelling and video to create positive impact for destinations, communities and stakeholders. Rob has traveled to over 90 countries, directed more than 200 films, and spearheaded a myriad of global content campaigns for top-tier destinations, airlines, hotels, nonprofit organizations and other brands.

In this episode you'll learn:

  • How travel can be transformational for younger people starting their careers
  • The power of video to tell a story
  • The danger of food becoming commoditized
  • How authenticity is about “real people”
  • How to find the “magic” of great storytelling
  • Why it’s important to be persistent

Discussed in this episode:
Rob's links: 
GLP Films
Rob on LinkedIn

Episode 23: Raj Gyawali – Living on the Edge

Raj Gyawali The Business of Food Travel Podcast

In this episode #23, we speak with Raj Gyawali. Raj is an expert on responsible tourism. He loves soft adventure, cycling and salads! A serial entrepreneur, he is the owner and strategist behind a variety of socially responsible businesses - socialtours in Nepal and Ethical Travel Portal in Norway. He also provides strategic advice in the businesses conceived and operated by his wife Birgit Lienhart-Gyawali, Karma Coffee Nepal and the conscious living space HUB in Kathmandu. He constantly develops new experiences and loves the creative process that is required to develop new products and experiences! He would rather be in the mountains anytime!

In this episode you'll learn:

  • What "linked prosperity" is and how you can work it into your business
  • Why if you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space!
  • How keeping a simple focus can help you achieve your goals
  • Why plans seldom survive reality and what you can do about it

Discussed in this episode:
Raj's links:
Social Tours 
Ethical Travel Portal