What is the difference between food tourism and culinary tourism?

While culinary tourism focuses on food products, gastrotourism goes beyond what we eat. It includes how we eat, where and when we eat, and the reason we eat a particular food. It allows foodie tourists and taste hikers to learn about food in detail, as well as the concept of paddock to plate. The truth is that gastronomy and gastronomic tourism are two different things.

In fact, the second requires the first. In other words, to have gastronomic tourism, gastronomy must exist. Let's look at some basic definitions of both. Food tourism isn't about dining luxuriously, it's about adventurous dining and learning about new cultures along the way.

A culinary tourism experience is any experience in which one not only consumes authentic local food, but also appreciates and learns about the local culture. And as people become more open to trying new cuisines, the food tourism market continues to grow. According to the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization), the average tourist spends approximately one third of their total vacation budget on food. Culinary tourism or gastronomic tourism or gastronomic tourism is the exploration of food as the purpose of tourism.

It is considered a vital component of the tourist experience. Eating out is common among tourists and food is thought to occupy an important place for tourists along with the weather, accommodation, and scenery. And this impression, and this memory, is what will determine if a place can truly become a popular destination for gastronomic tourism. These dining experiences will eventually help create the final impression that visitors have about the gastronomic tourism offered by the place.

While many cities, regions or countries are known for their food, culinary tourism is not limited by food culture. However, like everything else in this world, gastronomic tourism is evolving and includes more different activities. Culinary or gastronomic tourism is the search for unique and memorable experiences to eat and drink, both near and far. Culinary tourism means discovering new and authentic culinary experiences, from the best local restaurants to the cheapest street food stalls.

The World Food Travel Association acts to bring these sectors together to form the “food tourism industry cluster”. It outlines a destination development strategy to put a destination on a foodie's map by identifying all food and beverage resources, bringing them together, weighing their value, evaluating market forces, and engaging key stakeholders. Every tourist eats about three times a day, which makes food one of the fundamental economic drivers of tourism. FoodTrex events showcase ideas and case studies that foster innovation and excellence in food and beverage tourism.

Unlike what some people think, gastronomic tourism is much more than enjoying a meal or a good glass of local wine while traveling. However, we should keep in mind that foodies who are becoming a larger part of the market tend to spend more than 25% of the average and it is reasonable to expect that this number will continue to increase as the number of people belonging to the foodie category increases in the coming years.