Tree with caramelized olives stuffed with anchovies at the 3-Michelin-Star El Celler de Can Roca,
Girona, Spain, twice voted The World’s Best Restaurant
A GUIDEPOST Report
The post-Covid tourist seeks gourmet gastronomy in a safe, uncrowded, close-to-Nature environment.
Fifty-six percent of Europeans want to travel already. In fact, they have confirmed their intent to travel from the month of June, according to the European Travel Commission.
The early post-Covid tourists will opt for a destination that is less crowded, closer to Nature and offers a kind of gastronomy that may not be out-and-out fit for the gods but is at least really good. So say the experts at the IV Congreso Internacional de Turismo Gastronómico (Fourth International Congress on Gastronomic Tourism – FoodTreX Spain 2021) held last 27 – 28 May at BALUARTE, Palacio de Congresos y Auditorio de Navarra. More than 150 local and international professionals attended the FoodTreX 2021’s online and on-site conferences and workshops.
As a result of the tourists’ predilection for great gastronomy, “[Gastro-tourism in the post-Covid era] will be one of the first sectors to recover in Spain,” observes Luis Cortés, Director of FoodTreX. It’s not just the tourists’ partiality to good food; it is also because the sector “has adopted so well” to the safety that the tourists are putting a premium on. Being closely linked with safe tourism, “in two years’ time gastro-tourism will recover the previous levels experienced before the pandemic,” Cortés predicts.
If “the 53% of the tourists have gastronomy in mind” when choosing their destination – and they have as of now, according to Mikel Irujo, Minister Counsellor (Consejero) of the Economic and Business Development of the Government of Navarre – the World Food Travel Association (WFTA) is forecasting that this will go up to 63% in 2022.
“Gastronomy is one of the most enduring memories of a trip”, says Alberto Jesús Ecai, Director of Touristic Planning and Innovation of the Government of Navarre.
Spain, the favorite
Once again, Spain will be one of the favorite destinations of the world’s gastro-tourism. Per the World Food Travel Association (WFTA), in 2022 the percentage of foreign tourists motivated by gastronomy will be 20% more than in 2020. Moreover, owing to the increase in the purchasing power of the gastro-tourists, more than 40% of their budget will be spent on gastronomy. The gastro-tourists, as profiled by the WFTA, enjoy medium-high to high levels of buying power. Sixty-eight percent of them are couples, 40% travel with their family, 32% with friends. Aged between 36 and 55, 53% are college-educated. They organize their own getaway (customized itinerary).
“This year’s economic crisis won’t let the low- and the medium-low income groups travel, but the less affected by the pandemic will have more money to spend,” according to Luis Cortés.
Actually, gastro-tourism has been making itself felt since the pre-pandemic. As Cortés points out, “Before the pandemic, 75% of the tourists with Instagram accounts had already been choosing their destination on the basis of their gastronomic experiences.”
The gastro-tourists have a special fondness for safe agro-tourism, as Spain will find out this summer: local produce, luxury winetasting packages, cattle farms, and the like are the buzz. Far from crowded urban centers and the beaches.
To attract the post-Covid tourists, the “old” tourism of historic monuments will have to be paired off with fine dining and convert the usual haunts of cultural tourism into “foodie” routes.
Be that as it may, while indeed more than half of the European populace are raring to go off on their summer holiday as early as this June, “27% of us [Spaniards] are still not traveling for fear of catching the virus,” says Elena Valdés, chief of Cultural Tourism and Content Marketing of the Tourism Institute of Spain (Turespaña). According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the recovery of Spanish tourism might not occur until 2022 as many of the tourists are coming from far away. Valdés points out, for example, that the Americans won’t be showing up before September, certainly not until “the majority of our people are vaccinated and transoceanic flights resumed.”
The slow tourist
Something has to be said about the phenomenon of the “slow tourist” whose magnitude is expected to grow. S/He is that tourist who will spend more time in one vacation place in order to soak up and get integrated into the local culture.
Featured image/City Foodsters, CC BY2.0 via Flickr
Uncrowded beach/Suni Naik on Unsplash
Diner/Louis Hansel, Unsplash
Squid dish/Luis Comba, Unsplash
Girl tourist/Massimo Adami, Unsplash
Texts, prints, photos and other illustrative materials depicted in GUIDEPOST have been either contributed by the authors of each published work or, to the Magazine’s good-faith knowledge, are in the public domain or otherwise benefit from the allowances of Articles 9(2), 10, 10(bis), and applicable others of the Berne Convention for the Protection of literary and artistic works.