Why is gastronomic tourism so popular lately?

Gastronomy Tourism in Russia: Prospects for Development

Chairman of association of cooks “Taste of World RUS” which is engaged in cooking direction in Technograd educational complex Vladimir Oleynikov on how gastronomic tourism in Russia is developing nowadays, what tours are in demand and what regions have to do to attract guests with gastronomic tourism direction.

– What is the stage of development of gastronomy tourism in Russia now?

– Let’s firstly define what gastronomic tourism is. It means travelling to different regions and countries to get acquainted with local culinary traditions, products and peculiarities of national cuisine.

And here the main goal of tourists is not just to eat delicious food, but to taste the local unique products and dishes, and through these products to learn the culture of the region or country. Gastronomic tourism is a young trend, but the national cuisine, local products have always existed.

In Russia, people also traveled, knew where the best butter was made, and where the best bread was baked. Each region was famous for its unique gastronomic feature. But, unfortunately, over the centuries much has been forgotten. Today we are beginning to restore it.

Gastronomic highlights are beginning to be appreciated again-the industry is reborn. In recent years, the gastronomic component has started to stand out as a separate type of travel.

– How is gastronomic tourism developing in Russia now?

– If we compare with such countries as Thailand, China and India, the development in Russia is not as active as we would like it to be. We have a lot of “closed” regions, there is no necessary support, which should be there. Therefore gastronomic tourism in Russia develops in an average, sluggish mode.

The potential and perspectives for development of gastronomic tourism in Russia are very high because of huge size of our country, incredibly diverse nature, flora and fauna, national and cultural traditions of the regions from Sochi and Crimea to Baikal and Kamchatka, which are the basis of culinary traditions of these regions. Russia as a multinational and multicultural country with a long history is very interesting for tourists. But it is too early to say that gastronomic tourism is a rapidly developing trend in our country.

Complex Russian offers and programs are only at the beginning of forming, spurred on the fertile ground of European countries and demand is growing day by day.

– Why do you think gastronomic tourism is popular among tourists?

– Gastronomic tourism is a destination for those who are tired of monotonous tourist trips to local attractions, for those who want to learn the culinary traditions of different nations and perhaps learn to cook something new and unusual.

It used to be that tourists would go sightseeing and visit various exhibitions and events. An integral part of such visits was a visit to a restaurant for lunch or dinner. Now tourists want a more active and informative vacation.

If we used to have attractions and food as the basis, now it’s attractions through food. The format has changed slightly.

Gastro tourism organizers are constantly developing new itineraries, offering tourists many variations: from excursions to various food production facilities to visits to village farms with organic products, which necessarily include tastings and all kinds of master classes on the preparation of national dishes. Such routes allow you to learn the local culture through national dishes.

– You said that the support of the authorities is important for the development of gastronomic tourism. Isn’t there any?

– Many regions want to develop this direction, but there should be a comprehensive work, historians and professional cooks should work together. The culinary association “Taste of the World RUS” is now launching such a project together with the Historical Museum of Russia.

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This is a big job, because to launch such a project you cannot just say “there’s a farm, there’s a restaurant with history”. We have to base it on historical facts. There’s no practice of chefs working directly with historians who do archaeology, the development of Russian history.

– And when everyone comes together, will there be progress?

– We have such a project now, which we are keeping secret for now. It’s working together with the history museum. Historians will work with our chefs.

The Association with Ministry of Culture of RF is working out a large-scale program, which will help regions to determine their direction of gastronomic tourism.

– What regions are famous now, where do tourists go on gastronomic tours?

– There are a number of such regions in Russia. For example Vologda, widely known for its Vologda butter, develops gastronomic tourism. Also in our country there is a world famous product for which tourists even come from other countries, it is Tula gingerbread. Tula is famous for it.

Today “wild” gastrotourism is widespread, when people visit farms or ancient huts, as it is done in Yaroslavl. Tourists go to the forest, pick berries, get acquainted not only with the local culture, but also with the local gifts of nature that grow there.

Besides, gastrotourism is well developed in Astrakhan region and Astrakhan, famous for fishing and abundance of fish. Both sturgeon and sterlet are found here. Most of the farms and fish farms in Russia are concentrated there.

Today these are the main regions of gastronomic tourism in Russia. One of the big projects of the Culinary Association in the sphere of gastronomic tourism, developed and realized together with Tyumen region, is “Oilman’s Path”.

Tourists visit oil rigs and cook wild fish soup with oil. Fish soup with oil is already known all over Russia. The organizers of the project in Tyumen have connected famous restaurateurs and hotels to the tour – local chefs are now developing the direction, including fish soup on oil in the menus of restaurants and hotel catering outlets.

At the same time each of them supplements the menu with some zest. For example, they put raid points – who and where famous people have stayed. Such points allow you to identify a landmark, to give a particular building or place the status of a landmark.

– Can we say that due to the “Oilman’s Path” project the flow of tourists to Tyumen has increased?

– Yes, the flow of tourists has increased. But we encountered difficulties with the tour guides. They turned out to be unprepared to support these tours and sites. Therefore, along with the development of gastrotourism, Tyumen started to develop and license guides for local gastrotourism routes.

This year the tourist flow in Tyumen due to all the implemented measures has increased quite well. Next year it is planned to increase financing of gastronomic tourism, because it has brought quite significant results.

– So, we can say for other regions that it is their chance to increase the tourist flow?

– Yes, both external and internal tourist flow. But each region is exclusive. You have to work with them and understand what they are famous for – not only historical facts, you have to look at their subsoil, their meat and fish products, agricultural products – what they grow. When developing local gastro routes, it’s important to work with agriculture.

We encountered a problem – some chefs do not know how to work with agricultural products due to the fact that small farms produce an individual product, which has completely different requirements in terms of cooking technology, which is accepted in our general mass.

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– Is it the job of regional associations or individual restaurants to promote gastronomic tourism?

– Correctly, it is the work of local associations which would be involved in this area, integrating the efforts of various organizations and structures of society, making it possible to achieve a synergistic effect. Now the Taste of the World RUS Culinary Association is expanding its representation in the regions. Many of them support us.

There are regions that are still watching from the sidelines as it all happens. But the initiative of research, changes and development should in any case come from a non-profit association, which does not pursue commercial goals, only in this way can this direction be truly developed.

– Regarding the theme of the tours, apart from the widespread wine and cheese tours, what other tours are known and in demand, and where do people go for them?

– There are very few in Russia. If you take European and Asian countries, it is more regions of France, Italy, Poland, Asia, China and Thailand. These regions are leaders in organizing gastronomic tours. I can say if Russia has the right approach to gastro tourism, I am sure there will be an influx of tourists from India, China, and this is a large segment of the tourism market.

We were in China and analyzed the Chinese restaurant market, visited eighteen restaurants and tasted dishes. We noticed that many restaurateurs in China invite chefs from Russia. Because we have delicious food in Russia. The Chinese, for the most part, come for the exclusivity of the Russian product.

It cannot be said that we have strongly developed cheese-making and cheese-making in Russia. The so-called “mushroom hunting” may still be well developed in some regions, but it’s not done properly.

– And what about baking bread?

– At a low level. Now we are trying to restore this direction as well. If we take the technology and standards of baking bread, then in Russia it is followed only by 5-7%. As sad as it sounds, this is true. A very labor-intensive element of Russian cuisine, bread, is gone for the time being, it has to be restored, and this is serious work.

– Is gastrotourism more developed in Europe and the USA than in Russia?

– Yes. Europe is France, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden. Switzerland is chocolate, Sweden is Swedish bread. Italy, France are cheeses and wines. American destinations cannot be said to be popular, but they are well developed. If we talk about gastrotourism on a global scale, it has been gaining momentum since 1998 in the U.S. state of Ohio.

– So first the United States, then Europe, and we are just at the beginning of our way?

– Yes. The United States is famous all over the world, and you probably know about this gastrotourism and everyone knows about it – it is a whiskey destination. Tourists go there to see how it’s all made, produced, and what it’s served with.

In the U.S. there is also an urban gastrotourism trend. It is visiting certain restaurants that have Michelin stars.

There are also many restaurants in Europe that have been awarded a Michelin star. The purpose of tourism in such institutions is to understand the characteristics of a particular restaurant. There is a wide development of such restaurant tours in New York.

Moscow is catching up, it’s heavily supported by festivals. The biggest and most interesting festival of gastronomic tourism in Moscow is the Festival of Sweets and Ice Cream and also “Journey to Christmas”.

– Can we say that the prospects for the development of gastronomic tourism are high?

– They are high, the destination is in demand. If it wasn’t, no one would pay attention to it. Now, it is necessary to have a competent approach to the development of this direction in order not to kill it.

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– Is this primarily the work of the local Culinary Association?

– Yes, we should focus on the profile associations. No matter what kind of funding is provided until the culinary enthusiasts themselves start studying their history, and then put it into some practical and demanded format, the direction will develop sluggishly.

When the work is going in the right direction it is necessary to connect the state structures, which can support the research and pull the entire business behind them. Again – the association is the foundation.

– If individual restaurateurs get involved, the effect won’t be as high?

– The effect at the regional level, in any case, will be if there is a consilium of chefs of at least 2-5 people. When there are several points of view and many are involved in different areas, by combining and discussing them you can get a very interesting story.

Today, the problems with the development and promotion of gastronomic tourism are associated with a large territory of the state and often with the lack of coordination of market participants. Rare is the promotion of national product with the emphasis on the uniqueness of its offer. Basically, many regions of Russia promote similar products – honey, pickles, herbal teas, etc.

The lack of a centralized approach in the development of different regions, in the absence of a common information base, forces market participants to compete with similar products from neighboring areas, which creates problems for the development of gastronomic tourism at both the regional and national level.

The strategy of gastrotourism development, focused on a particular tour product, is erroneous, as the peculiarity of our country is the variety of cuisines and culinary originality.

Now the Association is taking steps to create a matrix of unique products and dishes of the regions, but there is still a lot of work to do to promote them so they become recognizable. Almost every region has 3-4 products with a geographical indicator, which can have a unique taste and form a gastronomic image. Already now the government is launching special programs to promote these products and the Russian cuisine in the foreign market.

Also at the moment, Rostourism and regional administrations have begun to actively organize festivals of local cuisine. Events with such kind of activities attract an additional flow of tourists, but, above all, of course, in this case it is more about the development of the volume of domestic tourism. Today it is clear that it is necessary to put Russia on the gastronomic map of the world, increase tourist interest and develop export potential.

At the moment apart from the government representatives of business are also interested in gastronomic tourism and it is necessary to attract them to the development of the branch by holding seminars, master-classes and trainings and organizing systematic collaboration with investors.

We all – culinary associations, the restaurant community, federal and regional authorities, hoteliers, food producers, farmers, regional promotion agencies, export promotion and development agencies – must learn to work together and create integrated programmes. The system integrator and catalyst should be a non-profit association that has offices in the regions of Russia and coordinates the actions and programs of the regions.

Potentially gastrotourism in Russia can become a real stimulus for the improvement of the hospitality industry development as well as help to create conditions for sustainable development of the regions and the country in whole.

Gastronomic tourism: a promising niche for making money in 2021

Gastronomy tourism: a promising niche for making money in the spring of 2021

According to data of tour operator ALEAN, the share of tourists, who choose gastronomic trips, makes up 10% of all buyers of tours across Russia. Gastronomic tourism is an interesting niche where you can make money from excursions and workshops. In this article, we talk about ideas for content on “tasty” topics and share popular tours from Tripster and Sputnik8.

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Why gastronomic tourism is promising

In 2019, the service Momondo conducted an interesting survey among its users on the topic of food in travel. According to its results, about 42% of Russians consider the characteristics of local cuisine when choosing an itinerary. And more than half of those surveyed (52%) are not stingy on food during a trip.

83% of respondents said that they mostly look for information about cafes, restaurants and dishes to try on the Internet. Therefore, your content about gastronomic excursions is sure to attract the attention of users.

The World Tourism Organization has singled out gastronomic tourism as a separate direction and holds an annual forum on this topic. More and more travelers want a non-trivial immersion into the culture of the places they visit. And the main guide in this is just the food. The food that is customary in a particular region can tell a lot about its history, traditions and customs.

According to the National Tour Operator ALEAN the demand for gastronomic tours in Russia grows annually by 17%, and the share of gastrotourists is about 10% of all buyers of tours in Russia. On the territory of our country there are a lot of ethnic groups, several climatic zones and rich cultural and historical heritage. Many regions have their own unique cuisine.

Increase in popularity of domestic tourism amid pandemic and closed borders affected the growth in demand for gastronomic tours. The development of the destination is also supported by the state. For example, three years ago a federal project “Gastronomic map of Russia” was launched.

Gastronomic tours abroad in 2021

From opened for Russians foreign destinations, the most popular is Turkey. And if tourists are traveling on their own, they will definitely be interested in where it is best to dine and where to try delicious street food. Most of the gastronomic excursions can be found in Istanbul.

Now in Turkey there are strict anti-covetail restrictions, due to which many excursions are canceled. But beginning in March 2021, the government will gradually lift the restrictions. We hope that by the end of spring all sightseeing programs will go back to normal.

Georgia, which has always been famous not only for the beauty of scenery, but also for delicious food, will probably soon open for Russian travelers as well. For Georgia, Travelpayouts advertisers also have a lot of offers on gastronomic tours and wine tastings.

Travelpayouts affiliate programs from the excursion niche

Travelers can find gastronomic excursions and master classes on each of these services.

How to promote gastronomic excursions: tips for creating content

In the first section of the article, we mentioned about gastronomic tours, which include travel, accommodation and an introduction to the cuisine of the region. The average check for a gastronomic tour in Russia for one person in 2021 is 70,000 rubles. Such a product is not very common and quite specific.

The offer for a wider audience is gastronomic tours and master classes, which can be pre-sold for any trip, whether it is a package tour or an independent trip.

The audience for such excursions are mostly couples or small groups of friends of 4-6 people. And it’s not necessarily tourists from other regions – many programs will be of interest to locals.

Tips for content creation

1. Create separate blocks about local delicacies and traditional dishes inside large materials about cities or regions.

2. Write separate articles on themes: “What you must try in city N”, “Where to eat in city N”, “Top 5 dishes of the region”, “National cuisine of region Z” Interest the reader with the fact that some dishes can only be tried in a particular place and nowhere else.

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3. Educate travelers about gastronomic tourism. Tell them that you can learn about the history and culture of a city through the local dishes, among other things.

4. Post photos and videos from gastronomic trips that convey the live atmosphere of the events. Visual images are the best influence on the perception of information.

5. Include gastronomic excursions in articles like “What to do in 3 days in the city of N”.

6. As always, readers are most interested in your personal experience: go on a tour, tell about the impressions, including the food you were able to try.

Popular cities for gastronomy tourism and top excursions from Tripster and Sputnik8

The most popular cities for gastronomy tourism:

  • St. Petersburg
  • Moscow
  • Kazan
  • Kaliningrad
  • Yekaterinburg
  • Kolomna
  • Vladivostok
  • Sochi
  • Istanbul

In pre-pandemic times, the leaders in gastronomy tours were France and Italy.

Popular gastronomic tours by Sputnik8

City Excursion
St. Petersburg – Crawl through clubs and bars – Petersburg author’s cuisine: to know and taste – Petersburg cuisine from Peter the Great to present day – St. Petersburg bars City Pub Crawl – Secrets of Russian traditional cuisine – Gastronomic tour in the city’s most delicious restaurants
Kaliningrad – City of Peace and Cheese” with a visit to the cheese dairy Deutches Haus – Bus tour “Beer Königsberg”
Moscow – Moscow Bar Tour + Game-Quest
Sochi – Gastronomic Tour in Abkhazia
Kolomna – Sightseeing tour in Kolomna Kremlin with tea and kalacha – Taste Kolomna (tour with tasting)
Kazan – Master-class “Chak-chak and Tatar pastry” – “Hospitable House of Bai” – interactive theatrical program
Yekaterinburg – Urals dumplings under the architectural sauce – Express acquaintance with the city E. and a master class on making dumplings
Istanbul – Gastronomic tour through contrasting places in Istanbul – Tastes of Istanbul: the best cafes and restaurants for locals

Popular gastronomic tours from Tripster

Tripster features more than 200 options for gastronomic tours in Russia from Moscow to Vladivostok, with plans to expand the destination.

The site offers different formats of gastro excursions: walks through unique city establishments, master classes, and dinners with locals.

The most popular gastronomic tours in Russia from Tripster

City Name
Kaliningrad Beer Konigsberg Fish places in Kaliningrad
Kazan Tatar pastry master class
Vladivostok Sea delicacies of Russian island
Krasnoyarsk Herbs in the life of a Siberian
St. Petersburg Petersburg author’s cuisine: get to know and taste
Moscow Gastronomic tour around PFUR campus
Sochi Juicy Sochi: gastronomic tour
Pereslavl-Zalessky Tasty Tales at Lake Pleshcheevo
Yaroslavl History of Yaroslavl gastronomy
Gelendzhik For the best wines of the Krasnodar Region

Excursions that can be of interest not only to tourists but also to the townspeople

City Excursion
Moscow – Traditional dinner in a French-Russian family! – Secret cocktail bars of Moscow – Moscow – the tea capital of Russia – Master class on caramel for schoolchildren
St. Petersburg – Gastronomic tour on tasty places of St. Petersburg – “Art Cocktail” – original cocktails in the best bars of St. Petersburg
Yoshkar-Ola Gastrotour as Mariinsky
Yalta Photo tour and breakfast in the Crimean mountains
Tula Tula tea party for the whole family
Rostov-on-Don Eat, drink, walk in Rostov-on-Don!
Kazan Tatar cuisine – learn, cook, taste

Top 4 Gastronomic Excursions in Istanbul

Tell us in the comments what you think about the gastrotourism niche? Have you tried doing content on this topic? Have you had any successful experiences selling gastronomic tours? Will you try to enter this niche now?

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