The S Plan – Smart strategies for sustainable regions

The protection and promotion of local cultural and food diversity is increasingly becoming a vital means to nurture sustainable and inclusive growth at regional level.

This is the powerful message of The S Plan, where President of IGCAT, Dr. Diane Dodd warns about the risks of losing our biodiversity and the century-long traditions and practices related to it, while highlighting the urgency to capitalise on our unique food and cultural resources to foster sustainable development.

The article explains how “eco, creative and living-it tourism” represents a possible solution to support local landscapes, cultures, traditions and community well-being, while counteracting the pressures of globalisation that increasingly tend to homogenise our world.

By providing outstanding examples from the Regions of Gastronomy, Dr. Diane Dodd demonstrates the effectiveness of implementing the so-called S Plan (Sector convergence; Storytelling; Strategic planning; Sustainability; SME development and the Surprise and shine) to create vibrant and innovative opportunities for sustainable experiences’ development in the regions.

Originating at the convergence of culture, tourism, gastronomy, arts and many other sectors, these creative experiences can cater for the needs of “the next generation of travellers” who happen to be “more discerning, more informed, more educated and more selective than the past generation,” while supporting a more balanced tourism development that will benefit the local communities as well.

The S Plan has been recently published in the book Creating and Managing Experiences in Cultural Tourism (World Scientific, July 2019) edited by IGCAT Expert, Daniela Jelinčić, from the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) in Zagreb (Croatia), and Prof. Yoel Mansfeld, from the University of Haifa (Israel).

Volume 1 of the Managing Cultural Tourism: A Sustainability Approach series, the book focuses on the experience economy and provides theoretical and practical background to apply this concept to sustainable cultural tourism through contributions from distinguished authors in different fields.


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 European Region of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu.

About the European Region of Gastronomy

Candidate and awarded Regions of Gastronomy from Europe, 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.