A great tourism “product” is the food trail. A trail is a collection of individual experiences, provided by businesses whose primary function is not necessarily tourism e.g. Distilleries. The local tourism body does not create the “raw” materials of the individual experiences but it does help market the trail to the relevant tourism markets. Faversham have successfully utilised food trails to promote local food and drink businesses.
The food manufacture primary function is to produce food; however tourism may be a small element of direct sales but a very important part of their national and international marketing strategy. Tourist whether they are local, national or international are customers for their products, so each business needs to decide for themselves how important tourism is for their business and the value they invest in the tourism activities. In addition, community food suppliers will benefit from increased sales through increase usage by local café, restaurants and hotels who are all gaining more trade from tourists.
Food, wine and alcohol are key elements of anybody’s vacation. Most day trips begin and end with a local food treat of food and / or drink. Visitors may have become a lot choosier on what they spend their money on, but they are also highly experimental and open to new ideas and tastes. A location can now become a tourist hotspot purely because of its local food and drink. Wine growing areas of Europe, America and Australia are perfect examples of this. Food tourism can be so powerful that it can out way the importance of climate and distance.
Wales is one country that has recognised the important contribution that food festivals can make to strengthen and further build a vibrant food economy. In 2011 over 30 food festivals were held in Wales with financial and practical support provided through ‘Wales the True Taste’. These include the international ‘Abvergavenny Food Festival’ and the ‘Cardigan Bay Seafood Festival’ in Aberaeron.
A Restaurant Week is a town or city wide event where as many restaurants as possible offer special menus and fixed prices. The idea is to get as many new customers through the door at an introductory price level who would not normally come to your restaurant. For existing customer it rewards them for their loyalty. A successful Restaurant Week will go way beyond simply offering discounted meals. It is a powerful way to reach new interested customers. They are an excellent way to start building customer loyalty by engaging with the customer in a personal way.
People need to eat. They also like to eat, but not just when they are peckish. So as well as being a physical necessity of life, eating is done for social and pleasurable reasons. Since the pleasure of eating is so important, tourism organizations have acknowledged that marketing a broad range of restaurants in their location, is beneficial in attracting tourists. By getting new customers to try your restaurant why not introduce them to your loyalty program to keep them coming back time after time.
Every economic region cannot ignore people really do ‘put their money where their mouth’ is when it comes to food. The food industry is a therefore a vital part of the tourism industry.