Join us as we sit down with Roberta Garibaldi, Professor of Tourism Management at the University of Bergamo, and the author of the Italian Report on Gastronomy Tourism.
First off please introduce who you are and share with us how and why you got involved in food/beverage tourism.
RG: I am a professor at a university in Italy, and also the author of the Italian Report on Gastronomy Tourism. I am also a consultant in territorial projects and a keynote speaker in a number of conferences. My adventure in food and beverage tourism started with my passion for travel. I have always been attracted to the cultural side of food. By travelling, you inevitably get in touch with other food cultures and you have the opportunity to understand really how much food can tell about a place and its people. After I decided to transform this passion into my job, you know as Confucius once said:”Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”. And here I am.
Next we would love to know what your company does, its mission, vision, etc.
RG: I am a professor and a researcher so I am always keen to embark myself in new research as well as territorial projects in order to supervise the scientific dimension of gastronomy tourism product development by offering the operators data on the new trends associated with the project. I believe that food tourism can not be separated from the local community. That it is the solely custodian of traditions conceived as living heritage.
We are sure that you have many, but if you had to choose just one, what would be your favorite food/beverage travel experience?
RG: In my heart I have a lot of Italian destinations, such as Langhe, Montalcino, Prosecco land. But some weeks ago I had fantastic discovery in Indonesia. I was there for a project and this gave me the possibility to enter in contact with local people and local stakeholders, to visit and experience different activities in food tourism such as cooking schools, restaurants, chocolate factories, and wineries. It was such an enriching experience both from a professional and personal point pf view.
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?
RG: Food Tourism is a dynamic segment, this is something we have to have in mind. The industry cannot remain static, it has to continuously renovate accordingly with new trends and consumers’ needs. I think that one of the biggest challenges for the future will be technology used to enrich the customer experience in the production site. Currently it has been applied only by a discrete amount of operators but I think in future it will be the standard. Looking back on the last 10 years of innovations, I cannot imagine which kind of powerful and interesting tools will be designed in next years!