Culinary Tourism

Apple Pie Trail at

Apple Pie Trail at

Every tourist has one thing in common … they eat.
 Rebecca LeHeup of Culinary Ontario presented at Central Iowa Tourism and shared why and how to have culinary tourism.

Culinary tourism is defined by  as the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences. By combining travel with these edible experiences, culinary tourism offers both locals and tourists alike an authentic taste of place in our bountiful province.

Are you considering adding culinary tourism into your marketing mix for your community?  There are three things you need:
1. Ensure you have sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and viticulture.  Food, fish and wine.
2. The ability to have a group of people be able to combine agriculture, tourism and hospitality.
3. You must tell a story, and be willing tell it with pride over and over.
Culinary tourism includes:
Farms: Farmers market, direct to restaurant, on the farm tours
Accommodations: not what kind of rooms, but what are they doing for food and beverage
Attractions: What food things are they offering related to food
Beverage producers: wineries, coffee shops
Retailers: those with food and beverage component
Culinary schools: does your local culinary schools offer something?
Festivals and events: what kinds of food and beverages are being served?
Restaurants: this would be a no-brainer
Tours: do you have tours in the region that could incorporate food?
A Few Statistics:
  • Culinary Tourism has a 3:1 impact on local economy.  That means for every $1 spent on food $3 comes back into the community.
  • One third of tourism spending worldwide is spent on food.   60-70 percent of farmers market shoppers visit other neighboring businesses.
  • Food tourists are concerned about the origin of their food.  They have higher than average spending, a strong level of loyalty and are usually masters of social media.
  • They want the VIP treatment and are looking for authentic stories to go with their food.
The Show and Tell Rules:
Promise your visitors Taste, Tour and Take Away.
Taste .. Ability to taste locally sourced food
Tour .. Guided tours related to food
Take away ..option to take home products, this is great for added value income! in Fargo in Fargo

Culinary tourists are getting younger!
By 2020 half of the travelers will be 25-35 years of age.  They are looking for:
  • A taste of place and will spend more money on this than on hotels.
  • They use social media, posting both good and bad reviews as they experience them. They also read social media and are looking for your stories, pictures and details.
  • 52 percent book online using mobile devices.  Is your site mobile ready?
  • 60 percent of bookings occur within 24 hours of their stay.
  • The average consumer visits 32 sites before they book.
  • Mobile mobile mobile – better be ready!
Tell the local story:
  • Offer a unique taste of place.  What are you doing different from everyone else?
  • Serve and sell local food.
  • Promote where the food is sourced from.  Did you buy from the farmer down the road?  Is it organic?  Who is he/she? What is their story?
  • Promote partnerships – the tomatoes came from the local farmers market, the local farmer delivers to you every Friday, your Chamber has dinners in your restaurant quarterly.
Have you ever been to Vining, Iowa?  They have a testicle festival.  Yup, you read it right.  Testicles. They are known as the Original Testicle Festival and this past year over 800 people came and they raised $11,000.  This happened in a town with a population of 50 and the local lodge has 150 members from around the area.  Culinary Tourism.
(this is part one of Culinary Tourism – we will be featuring it all week)