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What is Culinary Travel?

Culinary travel or food tourism is the packaging of travel product and services with food-and/or drink-specific destinations, sites, attractions or events. One of the primary purposes of culinary travel is to experience the unique food and drink of a particular region, area or culture.

Culinary Travel Market Facts

  • 48% of NTA tour operators offer culinary travel product.
  • Culinary travelers, defined as those who travel for unique and memorable eating or drinking experiences, make up roughly one-fifth of the U.S. leisure traveling population. (Source: Wine and Culinary Traveler Report)
  • Travelers are most interested in local and authentic foods and culinary experiences that are different from those they can get at home. (Sources: Culinary Traveler Study-Mandala Research and WFTA)
  • 30% of travelers deliberately choose destinations based on the availability of activities related to local food and drink, whether it’s a beer or wine festival, a farmers market or a farm-to-table experience.(Sources: Culinary Traveler Study-Mandala Research and WFTA)
  • 51% of respondents said they travel to learn about or enjoy unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences. (Sources: Culinary Traveler Study-Mandala Research and WFTA)
  • Festivals motivate culinary travelers, so destination marketing organizations should consider hosting a beer, wine or culinary festival to feature local fare, products and unique food activities such as chef demonstrations and samplings. (Sources: Culinary Traveler Study-Mandala Research and WFTA)

Types of Culinary Travel

  •  Participating in cooking classes
  • Visiting food and farm markets
  • Walking through orchards and vineyards
  • Retracing historical culinary routes
  • Embarking on city and regional food tours
  • Watching chef demonstrations
  • Exploring wine, beer and spirits trails
  • Attending food fairs and festivals
  • Dining at gourmet restaurants and shops
  • Touring food plants and processing centers


  • Culinary or food tourism is the pursuit of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences.World Food Travel Association (WFTA), NA, NA
  • Our culinary tours are becoming increasingly popular as they offer the chance to meet food producers who have a true passion for their vocation.Nichola Gray, special-internet tour manager, Field Farm Tours Ltd
  • Our groups get to cook traditional Polish cuisine using both my grandmother's recipes and gourmet recipes in villages and cities with professional Polish chefs.Malgorzata Rose, President, Poland Culinary Vacations