IGCAT and the Future Strategy Plan for 2017-2020

On 26 April 2017, in the framework of the 4th Annual IGCAT Experts Meeting on Smart and Sustainable Destinations: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities (25-26 April 2017), IGCAT Experts gathered at EUHT ST Pol University School in Sant Pol de Mar (Barcelona) to discuss the organisation’s Strategy Plan for 2017-2020. Dr. Diane Dodd, President of IGCAT acting as moderator, drew attention to the wealth of knowledge that can be shared amongst the select group of experts that represent legal, agricultural, educational, tourism, environment, hospitality, culture, arts and business sectors.  In order to define IGCAT’s strategy plan for 2017-2020 the meeting was designed to consult the experts on priorities and development needs and opportunities.

The Regions of Gastronomy Platform is IGCAT’s flagship initiative and as such also counted on the presence of Board representatives from four European Regions of Gastronomy. The membership agreed that it is a priority to look for a European institution to endorse the European Region of Gastronomy Award and IGCAT was asked to lobby in Brussels. At the same time, the role of IGCAT internationally was discussed and it was concluded that IGCAT experts in other continents should be encouraged to bring Regions into the IGCAT Platform of regions and to form regionally based chapters of IGCAT.

The Innovative Souvenir Award as an initiative was also discussed at length and the membership agreed that a toolkit for regions to develop local competitions would be the first priority. Ilona Sares from Proagria in Kuopio, Finland noted that if Kuopio attains the title European Region of Gastronomy in 2020 they would like to host the first European or International competition.  The Innovative Souvenir Toolkit will aim at promoting and awarding local producers who manufacture sustainable gastronomy-related products conceived to represent their region and its culinary traditions.

Eva Canaleta, Executive Administrator of IGCAT and Professor at EUHT ST Pol announced innovations for the second edition of the European Young Chef Award which, like last year, will instill the message of supporting local food produce but, that will also introduce a storytelling element aiming to encourage young chef ambassadors to improve their storytelling and promotional capacity with regards to their region.  The second edition will be held at EUHT ST Pol on 5-6 November 2017 and is delighted to welcome Joan Roca as Ambassador of the Award.

The members also approved IGCAT’s plans to work on food routes, interdisciplinary digital training content highlighting knowledge from IGCAT experts and on improved standards for sustainable events. Claire Brightley, a sustainability and social responsibility expert from the UK, offered to support IGCAT’s development of a sustainability strategy and this was applauded by the members as we need to lead by example.

The  IGCAT General Assembly thereby approved actions to be included in 2017-2020 Strategy Plan, the 2016 accounts and the budget for 2017.

IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism) is an international network of experts that aim to guide, facilitate and support leaders in cities, regions and cultural projects to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. IGCAT is the coordinating body of the Regions of Gastronomy Platform and organises the European Region of Gastronomy Award with the support of European institutions.

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