He loves Sicily, goes to a farm and wants to spend little: here is the gastronomic tourist of 2021

They are more and more. They are crazy for Sicily and Spain, for Naples and Paris. They are curious, sporty, aware and demanding: they are no longer satisfied with a simple visit to a winery but want to participate directly – albeit for the time of the holiday – in the life of the winery, harvesting with the winemakers. Are the food and wine tourists, an ever-growing army. In fact, if in 2016 only one in five Italian travelers (21%) had been guided in the last 3 years mainly by food in the choice of destination, today it is over half (55%). And the phenomenon, while registering a marked decline in the number of experiences and a slight contraction in spending, continues despite the pandemic.

Naples is the most popular food and wine destination for Italian tourists (@Alamy)

Here is the identikit of the greedy traveler traced by the new edition of Report on Italian food and wine tourism edited by Roberta Garibaldi, teacher of Tourism Management, president of the Italian food and wine tourism association and on the Board of Directors of the World Food Travel Association. A report from which it emerges that for the 71% of millennial and generation Z tourists (and 69% of boomers), the presence of experiences related to food and wine it is important when choosing a trip. For food and wine tourists, the beauty of the area (90%), the local food culture (88%) and the presence of restaurants that use local products (84%) also represent an added value.

In 2020, Italian tourists have rediscovered Italy as a destination – underlines Garibaldi – and this has increased the desire to deepen the heritage of local flavors. In the choice of hotels, for example, the presence of an offer that enhances local foods was decisive and 80% of the interviewees stressed that they expected a breakfast based on local products. The Seaside, always the favorites, have also become the gateway to participate in food and wine experiences in the hinterland (53% of food and wine tourists), in front of the cities of art and mountain destinations. Even more than in the year that has ended, in this 2021 the desire and the need for live in the open air will prompt travelers to search for accommodations such as farmhouses (86% intend to stay there, 77% have already done so in the past), country relais (59%, it was 32%), food-wine themed hotels (56%, it was 32%), luxury campsites (29%, it was 17%) and tree houses (32%, it was 9%).

The Gran Paradiso National Park

There desire for nature and active holidays is a trend of recent years that will strengthen in the next few years, together with the desire to increasingly associate the idea of ​​a holiday with food and wine and psycho-physical wellbeing: the presence of yoga, forest bathing (walks in the woods) and sports in rural areas takes on particular importance when choosing territories and businesses to visit.

The pinchos, or pintxos, tasty appetizers typical of the Basque Country in Spain (@ 123RF)

And what are the destinations of taste in this summer still full of uncertainties and of which, however, you have a great desire? 33% of the interviewees are planning food and wine experiences in their region, 32% in the rest of Italy and 19% abroad. For the Italians, he wins in the ranking of greedy regions Sicily, followed by Emilia-Romagna and Campania. The cards are just shuffled in the ranking of cities, where we find Naples in first position, followed by Bologna and Palermo. Looking abroad, on the other hand, here Spain, France, Greece, Germany and Japan.

While maintaining a solid horizon, food and wine tourism has been affected by the pandemic. “The impact of Covid weighs on the number of experiences enjoyed – underlines Garibaldi – that decrease on average by 27% compared to 2019, and also on spending power. “In fact, 47% of tourists expect that this summer will provide the same amount of gastronomic experiences as last year, 33% will spend less and 21% more.

The methods of accessing the holiday have also changed. If in choosing to visit a company or a territory, word of mouth continues to prevail between friends and acquaintances (55%), the report highlights the increasingly important importance of social network with Instagram growing (+ 4%) compared to Facebook, which still continues to be the most used. Finally, in the booking procedures, as an effect of the need for a possible cancellation, there is a reinforced recourse to the direct call by phone (62%) or by e-mail (46%) rather than to portals of intermediaries or travel agencies.

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