In our age of technology and globalization (Hello Instagram-influencers, blogs, online travel ressources, cheap airfare solutions, etc…), more and more people go out travelling or, at the very least, dream of places to travel. For tourism professionals, this surge in the number of #traveladdicts and the ever-increasing popularity of the #nomadlifestyle poses more questions than it raises answers.
Who are these people? How do they choose their destinations? What has the most value to them as travellers? Are they bargain-hunters or are they experience-seekers?
In our age of technology and globalization, the traveller has never been more subject to the influence of trends + travel fashions spread over the Internet and across the world by influencers and particularly successful promotional campaigns. So the questions remain and ask perhaps even more pressingly:
‘How do we ensure we are present on the traveller’s long list of places to go?’
The latter is the question which, one year ago, DEFRA and Visit Britain have joined forces to answer and resolve. As a result of their research, they found that a striking 65% of people select their travel destination based on its perceived food quality and an even more impressive 88% responded that it was important for them to try the local food + drink when travelling.
In this case, the answer is pretty self-explanatory; how to attract visitors? Just speak to their stomachs! The question, however, then becomes more complex;
Why would travellers want to sample our very own British Food + Drink?
While the UK is not traditionally renowned for its cuisine, things are nonetheless changing. With more and more emphasis on local production and micro-producers, culinary innovation and creativity, the UK is quickly building up its foodie reputation. Still conducted by the Visit Britain/DEFRA team, a recent survey showed that British food ranked fifth in terms of desirability, behind the Foodie Trinity of the Italian, French and Spanish. This, however, does not answer the question; why should travellers choose to sample our Food + Drink rather than any other country’s?
For 50% of travellers, sampling authentic food lists amongst the top 3 priorities as is, for 48% of travellers, trying something unfamiliar. Unicity and novelty; two key words which have inspired the Visit Britain and DEFRA’s launch of the ‘Food Tourism Initiative’ for which we gathered in London on Expedia’s rooftop terrace.
While sipping on crisp glasses of English wine from the Bolney Estate and munching on gorgeous finger foods showcasing some of the country’s best produce, Visit Britain introduced the Food Itineraries which are to showcase, from September, four regions of the UK in light of their best foodie experiences.
In Devon + Cornwall, the itinerary is all about coast and vineyards. Yorkshire’s offerings are varied, ranging from a brewery tour (read about my thoughts on this here), to a cookery class and our very own Afternoon Tea Tours of York(!!). Up in Scotland, it’s all about the whiskeys and samplings of Glaswegian food while in London the beer aficionado will be pleased with the 100% Craft Beer Itinerary.
Appealing? I definitely think so! As the foodie I am (I hate the term, but hey, I think I can no longer escape it), I’m thrilled to see Britain’s superb food offerings ‘put on the map’ for all to experience.
The launch of the Initiative was filled with good spirit and an evident excitement for our country’s unique, innovative and ever-growing culinary scene.
Many thanks Visit Britain and DEFRA for helping build up the future of our national Food Tourism!