Organised by the World Food Travel Association, VisitSweden, Gothenburg Tourist Board and West Sweden Tourist Board, the World Food Travel Summit in Gothenburg, West Sweden, which runs from September 21-24, will see professionals from the food, beverage, travel and hospitality industries gather to learn more about the hottest trends in food tourism and how to grow their businesses. Erik Wolf explains what delegates can expect at this year's summit...
How has the food and travel industry grown over the years?
In the past decade, we’ve seen an enormous growth in the food tourism industry, which is now the number one niche market worldwide within the travel and hospitality industry. This is partly due to increased interest in food for health reasons or how buying local supports local economies, but it's also due to the pervasiveness of food and travel shows on the television networks. Every human being on the planet eats and drinks. Therefore, food has the potential to make a greater impact on both travellers and residents than any other special interest sector of the tourism industry.
What’s the aim of the World Food Travel Summit and who attends?
The purpose of the World Food Travel Summit is to give delegates ideas about how to grow their food, drink, travel or hospitality businesses, and to meet other professionals to help expand their businesses. The biennial World Food Travel Summit is the world's largest event for food tourism professionals and is an unparalleled networking opportunity.
The summit is themed ‘The New Wave in Food Tourism’ – what is this new wave and what changes are taking place?
‘New Wave’ means that food tourism is a cutting-edge industry that is extremely popular and poised to help businesses learn new ways to compete more effectively in a crowded global marketplace. A few countries like Sweden are already riding the wave, while other destinations are still looking for the wave. What better place to hold the World Summit, than in Sweden, a country with a reputation in innovation in food tourism?
Which speakers are you most excited about seeing at the summit?
It's hard to pick a favourite - we've got so many wonderful speakers at this year's summit. We've really tried to look far and near for speakers that would bring an angle more different than ever before. For example, how a winery in Thailand is one of the country's largest tourism attractions, or how a cooking school in a remote region of Spain is helping to preserve and promote the indigenous culinary culture. I really can't wait to listen to all of the talks.
Why did you choose to host this year’s summit in Gothenburg?
I had heard about Sweden's efforts at promoting food tourism and even spoke about food tourism at a conference in Sweden a couple years ago, so I was somewhat aware of the country's efforts to promote itself as a foodie destination. We were delighted when VisitSweden approached us to host a World Food Travel Summit in Sweden. I went on site visits throughout the country and I realised that it was going to be a very hard decision because there are wonderful food and drink resources all throughout the land. In the end we chose Gothenburg because it is an easy city to get to for our delegates, it is one of the most affordable cities in Scandinavia, it has a vibrant food and drink scene, and the local tourism office, Gothenburg and Company, really went out of their way to welcome us and ensure their support for a fantastic event.