Food and wine are increasingly the focus of attention in the world of tourism.
Tourists are not only looking for variety in the proposals, but also in the cuisine, regardless of the destination they are visiting.
“Almost 7 out of 10 tourists would like to try dishes from different culinary traditions even if the destination is renowned for one in particular, and among food and wine tourists the number is even higher, rising to 81%”, explains Roberta Garibaldi, university lecturer in tourism management and president of the Italian Association of Food and Wine Tourism. “This does not mean putting the local specialities, which have always been a strong incentive to go to a particular location, in second place, but that tourists love all kinds of experiences. For example, 48% of those who have bought food from a food truck have also eaten in gourmet restaurants and vice versa. This eclecticism is also reflected in an increased desire to combine other activities with food and wine experiences”.
The traveller is looking for proposals integrated with cultural and leisure activities, primarily visiting cultural attractions (indicated by 85% of food and wine tourists and 72% of general tourists) and shopping (85% and 68% respectively).
Will this trend towards eclecticism and the search for a plurality of experiences continue to grow, despite the restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic?
During the 2020s, food and wine tourism maintained its attractiveness as the desire to discover local food and cuisine grew stronger. During the spring lockdown, the amount of time Italians devoted to online consumption of food-related content had grown, especially among Millennials and Generation X, as had their desire to take a trip outdoors and enjoy food and wine experiences when regional borders reopened (Confturismo-Swg survey).
This propensity was then effectively translated into the search for and enjoyment of thematic proposals during the summer season, both by generalist tourists and food and wine tourists.
“The moment is important to invest in food and wine tourism, as it can represent a lever for restarting the domestic market as well,” says Garibaldi. “It will be crucial for destinations to develop new planning, encouraging innovation, digitalisation, diversification and a focus on the sustainability of the sector.”