The recent surge of cooking TV shows, food bloggers and rise of social media has created a new appetite for travel in which cuisine takes centre stage, says Michael Edwards, managing director, Intrepid Travel
Food has always been core to the travel experience – tasting new dishes, encountering unusual ingredients, enjoying local hospitality. After all, it’s one of the most direct (and delicious) ways to experience authentic local culture.
But the recent surge of cooking TV shows, food bloggers and rise of social media – there are 178 million photos tagged #food on Instagram – has created a new appetite for travel in which cuisine takes centre stage. These clients want to taste the flavours they have read, seen and heard so much about, which presents a fantastic opportunity for agents.
With so much information out there, many travellers feel overwhelmed and need guidance on where to go and what to eat. Many foodies are also time-poor and want a trip that covers a range of food experiences and cultural sights.
That’s where organised food tours come in. They offer travellers food tips from a local without having to do hours of research. Some trips, such as Intrepid’s Real Food Adventures, take them ‘behind the scenes’ to meet local cooks and producers, and eat in local homes.
Group tours are popular with foodies, as they love sharing their experiences with others: the conversation, the clinking of glasses, the passing of dishes around the table – it’s a bit like a travelling dinner party!
There is a fantastic range of food trips and they’re not all about nine-course tasting menus and Michelin-starred restaurants – there’s something for every budget, appetite and time frame. At Intrepid, we launched our Real Food Adventures in 2013, and it has been one of the most successful new ranges in our 26-year history.
Our trips celebrate ‘real food’, everyday local eating and drinking experiences – street food, home-cooking, grass-roots eateries, food markets, local producers, farms and bars.
What’s more, food tours are a powerful way for agents to market to specific groups. Why not contact your local wine club or cooking school? Or transform your shop into a Tuscan winery or Moroccan souk for a customer evening?
As Brits’ love affair with food looks set to continue to grow in 2017, now’s the time to take a bite out of this lucrative market.
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