Gastronomy is the reasoned knowledge of what we eat and how we eat it. An area of interdisciplinary knowledge that studies and generates processes, physical-chemical, cultural and socioeconomic where human beings cultivate, process, distribute and consume good food and beverages that affect their physical, mental and social well-being.
La gastronomy It has always been part of tourism, but its relationship in recent decades has changed significantly. In recent years, we have witnessed a phenomenon in which the great interest in gastronomy has meant that the tourism-gastronomy relationship has evolved towards new models, giving rise to a new tourism segment - gastronomic tourism.
Gastronomic tourism is an integral part of local life and is shaped by the history, culture, economy and society of a territory. This carries a natural potential to enrich the visitor's experience, establishing a direct connection with the region, its people, its culture and its heritage.
Interest in gastronomic tourism has grown in recent years along with its intrinsic promotion of regional identity, economic development and traditional heritage. Having identified their competitive advantage, more and more destinations around the world are seeking to position themselves as gastronomic tourism destinations.
This guide has been developed by the UNWTO by the Basque Culinary Center (BCC). It is a set of practical tools to support the development of gastronomic tourism at the destination level.
The planning of gastronomic tourism
Gastronomic tourism planning does not differ substantially from planning of any other tourism product or segment, neither in terms of functionality, nor in relation to the work process, although it does in terms of the wide and diverse range of actors that must participate in its preparation.
The methodological development that will be followed in the design and drafting of a Strategic Plan for Gastronomic Tourism follows a classic methodology that must incorporate participation mechanisms of the agents related to the activity, and which is generally specified in the following major phases:
Previous phase: Launch of the project. It defines the work team, scope, and methodology of the project, the main milestones and the work schedule.
Phase I: Insights and diagnosis of the current situation. Phase oriented to the knowledge of the tourist context of the destination, of the current and potential situation of the tourist activity related to gastronomy in the territory, and to be able to identify its deficits and potentialities. This diagnosis takes into account the identification of the favorable and unfavorable conditions that affect the gastronomic tourism activity that will be addressed during the planning process. For this, among other aspects, the following will be analyzed:
- From the internal point of view:
- Territorial and tourist context of the gastronomic tourist product,
- Inventory and evaluation of all gastronomic resources,
- Analysis of the tourist offer and its gastronomic component,
- Analysis the promotion and marketing of gastronomic tourism,
- Identification of agents that are part of the gastronomic tourism model, and Identification of gastronomic tourism products, enclaves and spaces of special value or differential value.
- From the external point of view:
- Analysis trends (tourism, food, management of the restoration, gastronomic tourism),
- Analysis of the real and potential demand for gastronomic tourism,
- Analysis of the gastronomic positioning of the destination, and
- Competitors analysis.
Phase II: Strategic formulation of the Plan. A complex but key phase and a determining element in the definition of the way forward to achieve the established objectives, which is elaborated from the previous diagnostic phase and in which participation and consensus among actors, including the community, is essential. local.
Based on all this, strategic recommendations for the future of gastronomic tourism will be proposed for the destination, which should allow visualizing the desired scenario in relation to the areas of intervention in order to increase the competitiveness of the destination, and how it should be projected in the main markets and the different target audiences, to ensure that the development and sustainable growth of gastronomic tourism revert to the territory as a whole and to the sector directly involved as well as to the local communities.
Phase III: operational planning. This phase defines the programs and prioritizes the actions that must be carried out to advance in the construction of the gastronomic destination. This involves proposing an Operational Development Plan and an Operational Marketing Plan that allows to develop all the tourism-gastronomic potential of the territory in a way that provides benefits for all parties involved.
Phase IV: stage of communication and dissemination of the Plan. Phase in which the Plan becomes a participant and is made known externally to all the actors involved, both to the sector and to the public and to the communication channels that link us with potential tourists.
The following graph shows the complete content and the classic methodology of a Gastronomic Tourism Strategic Plan that shares a process and methodology in certain aspects with other strategic tourism plans.
Issues to consider
- The Gastronomic Tourism Plan must be fully aligned with the destination's Tourism Plan and its objectives.
- Planning is not guessing the future. Planning is defining and having several scenarios that help us reduce uncertainty by providing the destination with strategies and tactics that minimize its weaknesses and enhance its strengths.
- Multidisciplinary work team. The development of a gastronomic tourism strategy requires a multidisciplinary and experienced work team with sufficient skills and technical capacity
The gastronomic tourism value chain
The tourism value chain is a sequence of primary and support activities that are strategically critical to the performance of the tourism sector.
Linked processes such as policy formulation and integrated planning, product development, market introduction, promotion and marketing, distribution and sales, and destination operations and services constitute the main primary activities of the value chain in tourism.
Supporting activities include transportation, infrastructure, human resource development, technology development and systems of other complementary goods and services that may or may not be related to the essence of the tourism business, but have a significant impact on the value of tourism (OMT).
Gastronomic tourism is a very interesting field to analyze the value chain, since in recent years gastronomy has gone beyond the table setting and beyond restaurant, the product is open to a large number of attributes and participating actors.
It seems that there is unanimity in considering gastronomy as a value chain that involves different branches of activity and that starts from agri-food production (which includes agriculture, fishing and the food industry); It comprises distribution through any type of channel (from traditional markets, supermarkets and large stores to neighborhood stores, groceries and online commerce); until reaching homes and hospitality businesses of various profiles (including international delivery companies) for their transformation and tasting and, of course, covering tourism linked to gastronomy.
The value chain of gastronomy and, therefore, of gastronomic tourism, allows us to cover a wider, richer and more satisfactory universe for tourism and allows it to become the main reason for tourist activity. Gastronomy is not limited to a plate, but to reach it a value chain has been built that includes elements associated with the production and processing of food, but also concerns its distribution, transformation and, finally, its ingestion.
These processes incorporate added values such as the gastronomic landscapes, the cultural and culinary identity of the destination, the tangible and intangible heritage (crafts of taste, traditional recipes, utensils, etc.) and are also linked to other elements that affect to a greater or lesser extent. in the process such as public policies, administrative regulation, infrastructures, training and research, among others.
The gastronomic tourism value chain is an important issue. It allows to build an innovative analysis framework of tourism activity from a holistic and integrative perspective. Understanding how the process works is essential to identify the policies to be formulated to incorporate sustainability as a strategic variable of management and the positioning of gastronomic tourism destinations in the markets, and therefore the success of tourism products and resulting activities.
In this context, a key step for the development and management of gastronomic tourism in a territory, is to identify, inventory and analyze the potential and degree of development of the different elements of the value chain of gastronomic tourism: producers of the primary and secondary sector, companies in the tertiary sector, such as the offer of catering, accommodation, specialized trade, gastronomic activities and services companies (cooking workshops, tasting schools, etc.), knowledge spaces (such as cooking and hospitality schools), markets, fish markets and spaces for the dissemination of gastronomic culture, fairs, parties and events; and also natural and cultural resources.
This identification and both quantitative and qualitative analysis may contain, among others, the following elements:
- Gastronomic heritage: natural resources, gastronomic heritage: gastronomic routes and itineraries, landscapes and trails, recipes, typical dishes, 'taste trades', etc.
- Gastronomic products, producers and food industries: products of quality with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) (from the sea, land, livestock, etc.), its productive spaces and the tourist and leisure activities existing in them.
- Hospitality sector (catering and accommodation): quantitative and qualitative: number of establishments, typologies (haute cuisine or signature cuisine, traditional cuisine, popular cuisine, tapas bars, gastrobars, etc.), geographical distribution, typologies, quality labels associated with gastronomy.
- Specialized trade. Traditional markets, street markets, local products, delicatessens, wine bars, etc.
- Events and activities for the dissemination of gastronomic culture: fairs and markets for agricultural, fishing and livestock products, gastronomic events, gastronomic activities companies.
- Gastronomic dissemination spaces: museums and food and wine interpretation centers.
- Gastronomic research and training centers: gastronomic universities, hospitality schools and training centers, etc.
This analysis should allow us to identify the products, enclaves and gastronomic tourism spaces of special value or differential value that define the value proposition of the destination and analyze current and potential products, as well as their promotion and commercialization. In addition, it will also be necessary to study the complementarity of gastronomic tourism with other tourism products developed in the destination.
Issues to consider:
- Gastronomy value map. The knowledge and identification of the elements that intervene in the different steps of the value chain and that are identified in the value map of the destination's gastronomy are relevant to characterize synergies and networks of interest. This knowledge is also the basis for the creation of tourism products based on gastronomy as they allow identifying the potentialities and opportunities of the gastronomic culture of the destinations, as well as proposing major strategic lines for their promotion and dynamization as a sustainable and quality tourism product .
- Gastronomic tourism, much more than eating. Gastronomic tourism definitely leaves the restaurant and ventures to discover and integrate the rest of the actors in the food production chain.
- Gastronomic tourism is very transversal and it can help like no other to maximize the distribution of the benefits of tourism in communities and in the territory. Gastronomic tourism empowers all those who make up the gastronomic value chain, especially local communities and also professionals in their capacity as ambassadors of the territory, thus reinforcing the identity and sense of belonging and safeguarding the authenticity of each place.
- The value chain in gastronomic tourism is often very heterogeneous and fragmented, which requires great efforts to work from a collaborative point of view, and makes it necessary to establish awareness programs, training and qualification of agents, especially for those who are less linked to tourist activity (producers, industries, shops, etc.).
- From origin to table. The relationships between the tourism sector and the primary and secondary sectors are essential to connect the pantry of a territory with the table and thus be able to value endogenous products through tasting, tasting, shopping, etc. The ANTs and the DMOs must strengthen these links through programs to promote indigenous gastronomic products.
- Interrelationships of the food value chain with other areas. In addition to the sectors closely linked to the gastronomic tourism value chain, we must not forget the interrelationships of food and gastronomy with culture, biodiversity and the landscape, health and well-being, science and technology and education.