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The Economic Impact of Food Tourism

Estimating the economic impact of food & beverage tourism is at best, very difficult.

First, we would need to find how many travelers there are to an area. Then we would need to interview them to find out how much they spend on food and drink while traveling. We could dig deeper and ask them what percentage of their expenditures are for sustenance vs. a unique food or beverage experience. We would also have to factor out expenditures by locals. And how would you account for a visitor’s spending on gourmet souvenir items in a grocery store? As you can see, the task is very difficult, and the cost of figuring out exactly how much travelers are spending on food and beverage experiences can outweigh the findings.

We have a better way. Over the years, through our own research, secondary research, interviews and conversations, we have constructed our own impression of the value of food tourism. By our estimate, visitors spend approximately 25% of their travel budget on food and beverages. The figure can get as high as 35% in expensive destinations, and as low as 15% on more affordable destinations.  Confirmed food lovers also spend a bit more than the average of 25% spent by travelers in general.

Please conduct more evidence-based research if you require absolute precision. We’re confident that your result will most likely fall in this range.  Perhaps a better question to ask yourself would be, is it worth the extra cost of doing your own custom research to learn that your figure varies by only 2.3% from the estimate provided by the World Food Travel Association? You might find better things to spend your money on.

Most governments publish data on total visitor arrivals and expenditures. Take the estimated economic impact of visitors to your area and multiply it by 25%. That is your estimated economic impact of expenditures on the food and beverage sector.

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