Recommendation Aseer World Region of Gastronomy candidate 2024_Website

Aseer recommended for World Region of Gastronomy 2024 title

An international jury comprising of four international experts accompanied by IGCAT’s President, Diane Dodd PhD considered the application of Aseer region for the title World Region of Gastronomy 2024. After reviewed the bid book submitted on 31 December 2021 they took part in a jury visit to the region from 27 February until 1 March 2022. The aim of the visit was to assess the region’s appropriateness and readiness to host the title in 2024 and to prepare a comprehensive report, that will be sent to the stakeholders within two weeks.

During the visit, the jury met with leading stakeholder organisations from both the national government and local entities concerned with the development and protection of Aseer as a gastronomic region. The jury was pleased to get to know a good cross-section of stakeholders from public, private, third sector and academic institutions and applauded the efforts of all involved in the strategies and plans for the region.

General comments

The jury was impressed by how the vision for Aseer, World Region of Gastronomy 2024 has been inspired and reinforced by his Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz’s Vision 2030.

In particular the jury commended the:

  • cataloguing of gastronomic assets by the Culinary Arts Commission of the Ministry of Culture, including specific plant and animal varieties that will provide a rich tool for culinary experts, artists and entrepreneurs to draw inspiration from in the future;
  • extensive work already carried out by the Saudi Heritage and Preservation Society on preservation of heritage sites;
  • citizen engagement and approach to economic and social development throughout the whole region being undertaken by Aseer Development Authority;
  • exemplary work of the Soudah Development Company and their commitment to environmental protection and community empowerment;
  • guidance and support of Faseel environmental agency developing awareness across the region;
  • diversity of young and old local entrepreneurs that are keeping the Kingdom’s strong cultural traditions alive using new contemporary forms as farmers to chefs to craftspeople;
  • educational ambitions of King Khalid University and Bunyan training programmes;
  • tourism programmes to protect the social, cultural and economic aspects of sustainability clearly demonstrated in the strategies of the Saudi Tourism Authority;

The jury further appreciated that the bid:

  • integrates the six different focus areas of IGCAT;
  • presents a long-term strategy and therefore is likely to provide a lasting legacy for the region;
  • shows a strong commitment from the regional partners;
  • involves citizens and considers educational needs of the region.

The jury also acknowledged the very important knowledge-transfer from generation to generation strongly inspired by family values, honour and commitment to the region which they believe makes Aseer’s application exceptional.


On the basis of the written application, the presentation and visit to the region, the jury decided that the Aseer region should be recommended for the title World Region of Gastronomy 2024 and pass to the fourth phase of the application process.

The fourth phase requires that the stakeholders jointly present an action plan detailing events, projects and development proposals that will be carried out in celebration of the title year and leave a lasting legacy for the region.

Subject to receipt of a satisfactory action plan, that responds to the recommendations of the jury, it is expected that the IGCAT Advisory Board will approve Aseer region for the title in August and the jury very much hope to see preparations unfold for the region’s Award Ceremony in September 2022.

On behalf of IGCAT, the jury congratulated and thanked everyone that they felt were deserving of mention for their incredible hospitality and generosity that contributed to the region’s success, especially the Culinary Arts Commission:

Mayada Badr
Majed Almuhanna
Khalid Ababtain
Hashim Muhiddean
Sara Alashaikh
Saif Alswaied
Alanoud Albugami
Abdulelah Jeli

Saudi Heritage Preservation Society
Sultan Alsaleh
Rehaf Qasas
Mada Alhamdan

Heritage Commission (MoC)
Yahya Almofareh

Aseer Development Authority
Amal Namngani
Sultan AlAmro 

Ludevic Piniello

Saudi Tourism Authority
Salim AlEnizy 

Waleed Taweeli

Manar Alsagoob
Meshari Alsaud
Khalid Alghamdi

Abha Chamber of Commerce
Aysha Assiri

King Khalid Univerity
Ibrahim Alseeny
Saad Alamri

Soudah company
Hussam Nasser
Mohammad Almulhem
Srdan Susic
Merhan Gogandy

Codification Recipe Project
Chef Afaf Alharthi
Chef Haifa Assiri
Chef Hessa Albeshr
Loay Almeshaeykh

Ibrahim Bashasha – Hosn Abha Restaurant
Ali Ramzi – Haneeth Ramzi
Ahmad Hawash – Moftaha Village
Dr. Saeed Aldossary – Cloud kitchen
Chef Rahma – Aseeri Home Dinner
Osama Alhatan – Lavish Restaurant
Mng. Nada Aseeri – Lavish Restaurant
Chef Aysha Almai – Lavish Restaurant
Mohammad Alalmai – Rejal Almaa (Honey Cottage)
Fayee Aseeri – Rejal Almaa (Heritage Commission representative)
Abo Waleed – Rejal Almaa (Farmer)
Mona Khalil – Rejal Almaa (Heritage Village)
Sulaiman Almalki – Photographer

Jury composition

Dr. Edith Szivas – Vice-President of IGCAT and an expert in sustainable tourism development looked at opportunities for creativity, innovation, sustainability, jobs, employment from a tourism perspective.

Omar Valdez, Executive Director of UNWTO Academy and a Board member of IGCAT paid special attention during this visit to environment, nature, adventure sport and eco-initiatives that can grow with food loving travellers.

Jaume Gomila, representative of Menorca who are currently European Region of Gastronomy 2022 focussed his attention on culture, citizen engagement and educational initiatives in the region.

Fabrizia Toccoli, International Projects Manager for IGCAT who is responsible for cross-marketing initiatives between awarded regions placed a special focus on visibility, communication and marketing.

About the World Region of Gastronomy Award

The International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) is the operative institute that oversees the management and coordination of the World Region of Gastronomy Award. IGCAT believes that cross-sectoral collaboration will help regions find solutions to current day challenges and thus, the World Region of Gastronomy Award is not only given because a region has great gastronomy but because the whole region is working together to create a more sustainable future.

IGCAT encourages not only hospitality industries to participate but everyone across the whole eco-system including public, private, NGO and academic institutions.

The first step in applying for the Award is to bring these different entities together. The next stage is to create a bid book that pulls together as many great initiatives as possible so that people within the region themselves can begin to appreciate how rich their resources are. The third stage is a jury visit at the end of which, if successful, the region is invited to the fourth stage which is to develop an action plan for the title year and beyond.

Candidate and awarded World Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to strengthen food security through the celebration of distinctive food cultures; create employment by stimulating creativity and gastronomic innovation; nourish children and adults through culinary and cultural education; drive environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; support balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlight and support expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practises; and contribute to community health and well-being.

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