Culinary Tourism for Tour Operators: What It Is, How To Adapt

Culinary Tourism for Tour Operators: What It Is, How To Adapt

Food is a universal passion. No matter where you’re from, food is representative of your local culture.

So it’s no wonder that lately culinary tourism has been increasing in popularity, with tour operators and destination marketing organisations adapting accordingly.

What is food tourism?

According to Skift’s report on culinary tourism, food tourism is any tourism experience in which one learns about, appreciates, and or consumes food and drink that reflects the local, regional or national cuisine, heritage, and culture.

The report revealed that 72% of all US leisure travelers can be classified as culinary travelers. This means that they participated in culinary activities – whether it was dining out for unique experiences, taking a cooking class, or attending a food festival.


  • 51% of US leisure travelers travel to learn about and enjoy unique dining experiences.
  • 39 million US  leisure travelers choose a destination based on availability of culinary activities.
  • 35 million US leisure travelers seek out culinary activities after a destination is decided upon.

It makes sense that travelers place such an emphasis on food. After all, it’s an activity that’s engaged in multiple times per day.

How can culinary tour operators adapt?

Ask yourself how you can create a memorable foodie experience.

Some tips:

  • Educate your customers about local food traditions.
  • Teach them the art of the local cooking process.
  • Allow them to meet locals on the tour.
  • Give them a glimpse into a local’s every day life.
  • Support local growers and producers.

Your customers want to experience the local culture through food, whether they’re travelers or locals. The goal is to get them to feel like your offering is totally unique and they learned and experienced something new.

Here’s an example of a glowing review a local left for Taste of Thailand‘s food tours:


Whether you’re actively running wine tastings, farm tours and cooking classes, or you simply offer meals as an extra, there’s always room to incorporate local food into your tour or activity’s meals.

How can you market food tours?

If you do run culinary tours, then you need to get the word out about your business.

Some ways to do this:

Go to your local destination marketing company and ask to be included in their campaigns (eg. Australia’s Restaurant Australia campaign).

Leverage visual social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest. According to Skift, “as Instagram feeds are flooded with photos of food, they turn any user’s followers into a new market for that restaurant or destination.”

Take Bali Food Safari‘s Pinterest page as a good example:


Package your products with like-minded suppliers. Make sure they share the same values as you in terms of supporting the local community. If you’re using Rezdy to distribute your tours and activities online, you can look for suppliers and agents to partner with through Rezdy Community.

For more marketing tips for tour operators, download our free ebook:

Tour Operator eBook

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