European Regions of Gastronomy discuss opportunities in food and well-being tourism

The 7th Annual IGCAT Experts’ Meeting successfully kicked off with IGCAT webinar on Food, Well-being and Wellness Tourism in the Regions of Gastronomy, held on 10 September 2020.

During the event, awarded European Regions of Gastronomy discussed policies to support and promote excellent visitor experiences related to food and well-being. By putting the spotlight on good case examples from the regions, the debate focused on how to encourage more responsible and better-quality visitor offers that can allure the international visitor that are increasingly curious to explore rural, sustainable, living-it and creative tourism experiences.

Attended by both IGCAT Experts and representatives of the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform, the webinar was also directed to identify opportunities of cross-marketing and international visibility for these visitor experiences offered by the Regions of Gastronomy Platform.

The session was chaired by President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd, PhD and included presentations from: Ariadna Ribas, Wine & Food Tourism Brand Manager of the Catalan Tourist Board (Catalonia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2016), who offered useful insights on the criteria and local brands adopted by the Catalan Tourist Board to identify quality experiences in the region that are suitable for international visitors;

Barbara Zmrzlikar, Head of Department of Research, Development, Innovation and EU Projects of the Slovenian Tourist Board (Slovenia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021) who presented Slovenia’s Unique Experiences Programme aimed at selecting local 5-star experiences that are in line with the region’s strategy to strengthen its position as a green, sustainable and boutique destination;

David Vidal, CEO of Promotion and Product of the Fundació Foment del Turisme de Menorca (Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022) who explained how the region is building on its culture, gastronomy, history and local pride to develop a tourist offer that can differentiate the island from competing destinations, based on surprising experiences such as the Starlight and Gastronomy destination experience.

Parvathy Venugopal, CEO of GreenEscapes Oy (Kuopio, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2020-2021) who presented her company’s strategy to create sustainable and engaging eco-luxury visitor experiences in Kuopio for the Asian market, involving local small and medium enterprises.

The webinar concluded that the regions have significant shared values with regards to sustainability and while each region promotes their experiences differently, there would be an added-value in looking more deeply into how the Platform could create brand-awareness and cross-marketing of premium gastronomic experiences. The European Platform agreed to continue this conversation at the next European Region of Gastronomy Platform meeting to be held in October.

About the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform   

Candidate and awarded World Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to raise awareness about the importance of their cultural and food uniqueness; stimulate creativity and gastronomic innovation; educate for better nutrition; improve sustainable tourism standards; highlight distinctive food cultures; and strengthen community well-being.


IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to safeguard and promote distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. This is essential to balance against globalised food trends that are impacting on our planet, health and local economies.

IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. It counts on the expertise of a worldwide network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.

IGCAT provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the Young Chef Award, the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu.