Conclusions ot the 1st International Congress of Gastronomic Tourism

The Congress has been a clear example of the growing impact of gastronomic tourism, both nationally and internationally. The collaboration of the World Food Travel Association and other international institutions has resulted in a cosmopolitan, diverse and enriching congress that demonstrates and consolidates a bright future of gastronomic tourism for Navarra and for Spain.

Faced with the model of low-cost tourism that is widespread, food is once again an attraction for the millennial generation and new generations, who in turn ask for increasingly authentic and personalized experiences (food is sexy again!).

We have to strengthen the Spanish culture of hospitality as a differential value, recovering patterns of professionalism and the quality of employment that are also part of our gastronomic identity.

Benefiting from the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, we must vindicate the value of gastronomy as a cultural resource, including wine and other beverages which are undoubtedly bound to this gastronomic heritage.

We need to pay attention to the environmental concerns of an increasing demand, which includes among other factors: the reduction of food waste, animal welfare, the trend towards organic production and products of proximity; This is how we have been guided by the “Zero Positive Protocol” for restaurants presented by the Università della Cucina Mediterránea, or the Erasmus + T4F project (Training in sustainable food for development, within the frameworkof the European social economy) presented by ESHOB (Barcelona)

It is important to pursue the path from the mere activity to the gastronomic experience, increasing the emotional factors and memorable consequences in accordance to specific tourist profiles. The biodiversity of raw materials, together with a strong claim to cultural identity and culinary difference, explains the success and positioning of destinations such as Peru and Japan, and serves as an inspiration for other gastronomic destinations.

The project “The landscapes of the Sierra de Madrid sit at the table” defended the value of the identity of its territory, the quality of its products, the passion of the producers and the wisdom of the cook. These are the four fundamental pillars needed to transform and position gastronomic tourism into a destination, in the same way that the project has been presented to the market at FITUR 2018, with its gastronomic itineraries already set for commercialization, based on the Sierra de Guadarrama and the Sierra Norte of Madrid.

The passion for culinary innovation should not make us forget our traditions, since the return to tradition paradoxically, turns out to be the greatest of cutting edge concepts.

The technological advances to attract gastronomic tourists are very intense; however it is necessary to invest more in developing personalized, segmented and original content, prepared for digital formats.

We have to remember that what turns a gastronomic destination into intelligent is not only the accumulation of technology; but the balanced combination of: innovation technology, high impact personal experiences and sustainability management.

The large online booking platforms are also increasingly aware that the key to their future success lies in high quality content and storytelling, which are essential in the choice of culinary destination.

It is necessary to find the tools that allow for adequate communication and promotion of the kitchen and cooks; which are adapted to specific knowledge, seasons, schedules and work spaces of these professionals.

In light of the data presented in relation to the demand for gastronomic tourism in Spain, it is clear that this tourist chooses to specialize and diversify, and that their degree of satisfaction tends to be high; while at the same time demanding a product that is increasingly personalized and emotionally intense. This leads us to an enormous and immediate challenge in innovation, specialization and diversification in gastronomic tourism products.

We need more unified market intelligence to be able to advance in the way of gastronomic tourism products, which allow us to make well informed marketing decisions and adapt the products to each of the segments; from the seniors or “silvers” to the new generations of young, hedonistic and responsible gourmets.

We have to avoid mass-tourism and unoriginality of the tourist-gastronomic experience, focusing on the demand and both the product, as well as the territory; creating a theme and interpreting the gastronomic heritage, to avoid the risk of damaging the tourist experience and losing identity.

We can benefit from the demand of the large incoming markets that have a high culinary culture, while on the other hand, we create culinary culture and awareness in new markets and new segments that will feed our gastronomic tourism in the future.

We must also be grateful for the tremendous passion that we have seen in this congress in the agri-food producers present, who bring us the true voice of the land and source from which everything springs.