The rise of food and wine travel
Tour companies are lining up to cash in on Australia’s growing foodie culture as operators adapt to meet the demand.
The increase appears to work its way up from millennial travellers with accommodation booking platform agoda reporting that 64% of the age group rate food and dining as their most popular activity when holidaying.
Agoda global director of brand and communications Andrew Edwards said Aussies’ passion for international cuisine was driving them to experience more of the origins of their food.
Similarly, Contiki revealed earlier this year that young Australians would spend 35% of their travel expenses on food while other Australian age groups spent 29%.
Contiki Australia managing director Katrina Barry said the millennial trends led to Contiki adapting its program to meet the rise in food travel.
“We found out that there was such an appetite for the USA and Canada, so we wanted to enhance our product offering to cater for this demand,” Barry said, adding that this led to Contiki bringing its MUNCH itinerary to the Americas.
Likewise, sister brand Insight Vacations reported that 60% of its customers would prefer a gourmet foodie experience in Paris to visiting the Eiffel Tower.
Intrepid Travel also saw a 20% growth in bookings year-on-year since it launched its Real Food Adventures product five years ago.
Intrepid brand & product manager food Cara Brown said the program had expanded from six trips to more than 30 itineraries around the world.
“The highest increase in bookings is from the 30-39-year-old age group, between 30-40% year-on-year,” Brown said.
The Travel Corporation recently launched a partnership with VizEat to allow its guests to connect with local hosts to experience regional cuisine in their homes, from Barcelona to Paris and Rome. Insight Vacations said the introduction was designed to capitalise on authentic cuisine becoming a top priority for many travellers.
Other brands such as AAT Kings are also tuning into this trend, with their Inspiring Journeys program including tours such as the Victoria’s Hidden Gems, where guests can indulge at the acclaimed Wickens restaurant, with its extensive wine cellar, holding the largest privately-owned collection of Bordeaux and Burgundy in the Southern Hemisphere.
Brown said the Middle East was emerging as a hot destination for food with Iran, Israel and Jordan becoming more popular.
“Three other destinations to watch for food adventures are Armenia, Georgia and Taiwan,” she said.
Brown said travellers were becoming more in tune with sustainability in travel and food.
“I think we will see a greater demand from travellers to learn about a destination’s local sustainable food practice,” she said.