Culinary Tourism & Economic Development

Because food and drink involve all of the human senses, we’ll remember a meal much longer than we will a museum or stained glass windows [or beach]. – International  Culinary Tourism Association 

Culinary tourism has become popular as the steady increase in interest in food channels, travel shows featuring local and regional cuisine, food documentaries and online culinary travel shows, and recipes prompted more consumers to visit destinations specifically to avail themselves of a new food and wine experience. Erik Wolf, president of the Food and Travel Association, has defined cultural tourism as “the pursuit of unique and memorable culinary experiences, often while traveling.” 

Culinary tourism, which describes travelers who visit an area specifically for its food, is a growing tourism market that has the potential to generate millions of dollars in the economy. It includes food festivals, cooking schools, wineries, restaurants, visits to farms, local markets, food shows, and epicurean retreats. This type of tourism, already popular in Asia, Europe, Canada, and other nations, is growing in the Caribbean and other places.

Since one-third of travel dollars go to food, culinary tourism provides a perfect marriage for positioning of the travel sector to maximize the integration of indigenous food, culture, wellness and the environment into a sustainable tourism experience. 

Food is the new cultural capital of a destination as if the culture has moved out of the museum to become a living experience of consumption. Many destinations have so much to offer that has yet to be showcased. One of the major shifts in tourism and travel is that people are seeking experiences. Given the emphasis on experiential travel, it is no wonder that one of the fastest growing concepts in travel is culinary tourism since it touches all 5 senses.


According to Local Food Plus, eating local food has a 3:1 impact on local economy. Travelers looking for something interesting and different are enjoying vacations that include tastings, classes and other food experiences. People are interested in not only tasting local flavor, but learning where it comes from, how it is produced, and in many cases learning how to make it themselves so they recreate their vacations in their home kitchens and share their culinary journeys with friends and family. Culinary tours include shopping trips to local markets, tours of food makers and farms, and cooking classes specializing in local cuisine, village rum shops; and craft markets.

Our culinary education programs create non-manufactured experiences and give back to locals by relying on their expertise as community artisans, cooks, and businesses to deliver authentic occasions for our clients. Our sustainable business model engages those entities that would not normally see the tourism dollar.

Nadine Nelson leads her team as a nationally recognized North American food content and tastemaker who has worked to lead and develop FAM tours in Boston, New Haven, and New York. She has worked with Travel Weekly, Farmer’s Almanac, HGTV, celebrity chefs and others to develop recipes, produce media segments, and write pieces for the web and print. She and her team are avid travelers. They possess the essential background in education, media, food, and culture to help proposed content makers make authentic and enriching media products to use across a wide variety of platforms. Because of her professional connections and personal relationships in the culinary world, she has been able to secure the guarantee of several world renowned tastemakers for festivals, demonstrations, and other experiential epicurean occasions.  Global Local Gourmet can customize a special program or collateral material based on the uniqueness of your location and the richness of the culinary talent in your area.