From a meeting of almost 200 professionals from the Spanish tourism sector, most travel agents and tour operators, The Blueroom Project has conducted the first national edition of the “Study on Gastronomic Tourism 2018” which collects trends in travel through culinary experiences and their possible evolution in the coming years. The report states that 80% of those surveyed culinary experiences are decisive when choosing trips and influence the image of a destination and, in fact, 40% (the highest percentage) believe that the culinary factor contributes up to 50% to the attractiveness of the destination, a percentage that even many respondents increase up to 50%. For those surveyed, Galicia is at the top of national gourmet destinations, together with the Basque Country, Andalusia, Catalonia, Asturias and La Rioja, while France, Italy, Japan, Peru, Mexico and Thailand are the most gourmet foreign countries.
The report was prepared from a survey conducted in the first quarter of the year, in which 73% of professionals in the tourism industry saw an increase in interest in culinary travel. In fact 42% have noticed a “considerable” growth in the last three years and 9% say that this market niche provides more than 30% of its results. And is that culinary experiences are gaining weight as a segment itself, and not just as a complement to travel: 44% of those surveyed sell a gastronomic package, while 24% still does not offer this product but is planning to develop it. In addition, there is the Internet boom: while 43% consider that the most successful sales channel is face-to-face with the customer, with a tailored communication, the sector also promotes its products through the Internet and its RSS (Facebook and travel blogs), as stated by 41%.
According to most experts, visits to destinations and their surroundings are the most demanded by the gastrotourist along with cultural itineraries. Then, wellness activities and events organized in the destinations tend to be the most popular options in second place while the opportunity to buy is preferred in third place. In addition, gastronomic tours with visits to markets, factories or farms; gastronomic or enogastronomic festivals; purchase of local products; cooking activities or enogastronomic fairs are the most attractive activities for the traveller.
The profile of the gastrotourist
The main conclusions of the study indicate that gastronomic tourism products are reserved by both men and women who seek the authenticity of the destination through food and drink, with an age between 36 and 55 years. The majority of the sector (49%) states that the preferred duration of the culinary trip is 2-3 days and 22% of those surveyed one week. Couples, families, groups or associations and friends, in this order, is the preferred company for the gastroturist, who can spend between 100 and 1,000 euros (22% indicate an expenditure never less than 250 euros per person per day).
Alejandro Pérez – Ferrant, CEO of The Blueroom Project, states: “40% of global tourism spending is on gastronomy. This data, together with the results of this and other studies, show us the great potential and tremendous growth of this tourism segment worldwide… and the most interesting thing for us is that strategic communication, in the form of comprehensive campaigns, has become a key tool to maximize the value of the gastronomic offer of a company or destination to its various professional and private audiences.