Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cities Try Feasting On Culinary Tourism

PORTLAND, Ore. (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – If cities really want to feast on tourism dollars, they’ll start emphasizing culinary tourism along with other attractions.

Erik Wolf, the President and CEO of the International Culinary Tourism Association, says food-related tourism is the last component to marketing.

For instance, Wolf recently consulted with tourist officials from Iowa and came up with the slogan “food like your grandma used to make” to emphasize the state’s agricultural heritage.

But for culinary tourism to work, Wolf says officials have to emphasize “unique” and “memorable” over “pretentious” and “exclusive.”

He says visitors prefer the ambiance and atmosphere of a fish taco stand in, say, Hawaii, over fancy-shmancy eateries with tons of weird silverware.

Another rule: Wolf says lots of cities host food festivals but they’re only good if the food is unique to the region and not “just the same chicken on a skewer available everywhere else.”

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