What do we really mean when we say “food travel” or “food tourism”? It is this simple:
“Food tourism is the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place.”
As our industry is rapidly evolving, professionals, academics and others continue to put forward their own definitions of food tourism, culinary tourism and gastronomy tourism (these phrases are synonyms).
We’ve noticed over the years that the definition of “food tourism” has been getting more and more complicated. For some organizations, traveling a certain distance or overnighting in a lodging property is often required for the activity to be regarded as “tourism.” But that ignores any locals who travel across a city for a new food or beverage product or experience. Some people don’t believe beverages should be included in “food tourism.” Some people find the use of “food” too banal, and prefer culinary tourism or gastronomy tourism. For others, they think of gourmet or agricultural offerings, when they hear the word “food.” These are overly complicated attempts to explain the simplest concept, “Food tourism is the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place.” You can always dissect the definition further, but there is simply no easier way to explain the act of traveling to experience unique food and beverage products and experiences.
Simple is always best.