How to Discover the Food Potential of Your Destination

Rebecca Mackenzie, President & CEO of Culinary Tourism Alliance, brought a vision of bridging the gap between the food & drink and travel industries.

During her talk, she focused on the importance of the growth of culinary and agri-tourism in local economies and reflected on a number of recent practices in Ontario, Canada.

Rebecca’s talk was dominated around value chain and partnerships to grow culinary tourism in local economies and promote the taste of places.

Rebecca Mackenzie, President & CEO of Culinary Tourism Alliance, brought a vision of bridging the gap between food & drink and travel industries to the Emerging Trends of X Festival. During her talk, she focused on the importance of the growth of culinary and agri-tourism in local economies and reflected on a number of recent practices in Ontario, Canada.

Rebecca’s talk was dominated around value chain and partnerships to grow culinary tourism in local economies and promote the taste of places. She exemplified the ‘Great taste of Ontario’ project in which the Culinary Tourism Alliance channels food potentials of Ontario through an engaging programme for customers to visit food growers and makers across Ontario and redeem local prizes.

Integrating food growth and educating about culinary of destination shaped a core part of Rebecca’s talk. She referred to multiple domains as to which food growth in farms can be linked to tourism activities, from educating about the taste of place to integration with food services and selling points such as restaurants and food festivals. Rebecca also re-iterated on the potential of incorporating farming and food growth tourism experiences such as culinary tours and cooking schools.

As Rebecca mentioned, the SDGs are at the heart of the Culinary Tourism Alliance’s practice. Decent work and economic growth(SDG 8), Responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) and Life below water (SDG 14) are highly integrated into their culinary tourism projects. For example, the ‘Feast on the farm’ series was organised to connect food and drink providers (farmers and restaurants)/ producers with restaurants and distributors and showcase culinary products of the region.

Other dimensions of Culinary Tourism Alliance’s project include support for businesses run by ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ+ community, food security and food sharing as well as attracting visitors to culinary tourism during shoulder season and mid-week.

Key Takeaways

1. Establishing industry links between food growers, sellers and consumers create the opportunity to inform people about agri-tourism through culinary activities.

2. Culinary tourism engages with many SDGs that concern both agri-tourism and the community.

3. Particular SDGs such as decent work and economic growth, responsible consumption and production and life below water.

Published on:
November 2021
About the contributor

Rebecca Mackenzie

Rebecca Mackenzie is the President & CEO of Culinary Tourism Alliance, a Toronto-based organisation working with communities to grow food tourism by leveraging the history, heritage and culture behind the food and drink that make each destination unique.