How to attract visitors to Europe! Joining forces to promote Europe’s rich cultural and food diversity

Attracting foreign visitors to Europe is the expertise and central work of a dedicated team at the European Travel Commission (ETC). For this reason, Dr Diane Dodd, President of IGCAT met with the ETC team on 22 June 2017 to discuss plans to optimise the visibility of the European Regions of Gastronomy. She noted the importance of “joining forces to promote Europe’s rich cultural and food diversity in third countries.”

The Regions of Gastronomy is a pioneering initiative of IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism) to develop regional programmes to work across disciplines to create new, high-quality and sustainable visitor experiences, that promote local plant and animal varieties, as well as local traditions and recipes.

IGCAT is a non-profit organisation established in 2012 working with a worldwide network of experts. IGCAT’s principal aim is to empower local communities by guiding, facilitating and supporting local leaders in cities, regions and cultural projects to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. IGCAT is the official secretariat of the Regions of Gastronomy Platform and, provides the European Region of Gastronomy Award for regions that have satisfied an independent jury that they have a powerful programme of projects and events that will help them develop culturally, socially and economically.

Ten European regions have received the Award to date and are innovating on food tourism experiences and this initiative caught the attention of the European Travel Commission, a non-profit association of National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) created in 1948 to promote Europe as a tourism destination. ETC’s mission is to strengthen the sustainable development of Europe as a tourist destination and to increase competitiveness, through knowledge gathering and sharing amongst members and lobbying, as well as by establishing a professional marketing platform for the successful promotion of member countries in overseas markets. ETC promotes pan-European thematic and transnational experiences, including Europe’s gastronomy, on its portal in order to stimulate competitiveness and sustainable growth of the European tourism.Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of ETC noted “the intrinsic value of food tourism heritage as a selling point for Europe.”

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in Brussels on 22 June between the two organisations. The agreement aims to ensure that the European Region of Gastronomy receives prominent visibility on the website and that IGCAT will ensure that the content provided by the regions reaches the quality deserved of such a highly visible European portal.

The agreement comes into effect immediately and while the portal is currently being redeveloped this summer, IGCAT will be collating content. It is hoped that by the autumn of 2017 the European Region of Gastronomy will be showcased on

Watch this space for more news soon!

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