1
07/2021
AUTHOR
Audrey Ruffaut
IDEAS

Showcasing the local culinary heritage

Read IN FRENCH

Visitors seeking authenticity and an immersive cultural experience at a destination are turning to food tourism, generating local economic benefits along the way.

How do you shine a spotlight on a destination’s culinary heritage to turn it into a truly strategic asset?

As part of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada's (TIAC) Enriching the Canadian Experience program, the Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA) conducted research on best practices in international rural destinations that are known for their food tourism.

In an effort to help destinations promote their culinary heritage, this article details the five priorities set out by the CTA and provides concrete examples to support them. Please note that these examples were selected for their relevance and are not necessarily from the destinations included in the study.

Priority #1: Celebrate cultures and support communities

The products and expertise which compose a destination’s culinary heritage are an integral part of its culture. Culinary tourism can therefore be used to promote local traditions, know-how and all the businesses and organizations that make up local food circuits, provided there is recognition from all stakeholders in the agri-food sector: producers, processors, distributors, restauranteurs, etc. It should be emphasized that the promotion of products from short circuits also allows for a greater economic, social, and environmental impact on the community.

Identify and communicate

The bio-food development board of a rural region in the province of Quebec identified local products and put faces to the businesses who create them by establishing the distinctive Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est certification (Flavors creators of Cantons-de-l'Est). The products of various agri-food businesses are labelled with the certification brand name and marketed in several grocery stores in the region. In addition, the campaign depicting the producers themselves displayed in participating IGA grocery stores highlights local business owners and their products. The brand is also deployed among associated restaurants (labelled “Restaurants complices”) which feature local products on their menu.

Restaurants créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l'est
Photos :(Left) Screenshot of the Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est website.(Right) Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est

Turn residents into local ambassadors

What could be more authentic than locals sharing their appreciation for their local food scene? Putting residents at the heart of the promotional strategy and turning them into ambassadors is an increasingly common practice. Shawinigan Tourism opted for this strategy when it launched the Resident-Ambassador campaign in 2018, which provided opportunities for residents to get involved in a variety of ways. It ultimately led to the creation of a new tool that allows residents to share their recommendations and hidden treasures, particularly those related to culinary experiences.

Read The ABC of an operation seduction with residents for tips on how to attract this clientele..

The visitor’s guide contains ambassador recommendations. Source: Réseau de veille en tourisme

Priority #2: Focus on shoulder seasons

Culinary tourism is an opportunity to follow seasonal cycles and extend the tourist season by developing activities year-round.

Promote U-pick experiences

Although mainly practiced by a local clientele, pick-your-own experiences represent an excellent opportunity to extend the tourism season from spring to late fall, depending on the region and the products. The harvesting of fruits and vegetables outdoors addresses various issues: a need for social distancing due to COVID-19, lack of manpower for businesses and a growing interest in local purchasing and short circuits. The picking experience can be complemented with other activities (visits, entertainment, workshops). Some producers even offer the possibility of winter visits to pick Christmas trees, for example, or to collect frozen apples.

Atoceuillette de sapins de Noël et de pommes gelées
Left: Pick-your-own Christmas tree at Plantation René Matte. Right: Collecting frozen apples in January during the Ice Cider Festival at Domaine Lafrance.

Organize seasonal and themed events

What do the Shediac Lobster Festival (NB), the Fête des vendanges (Grape harvest festivity) in Magog (QC) and the Festival des champignons forestiers (Wild mushrooms festival) in Kamouraska (QC) have in common? They are all themed events that focus on a local product or tradition rooted in their region. These events provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to discover the local culinary scene. Seasonal activities tied to a specific time of year are also popular. Östersund, Sweden is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for its gastronomy. The city holds an annual harvest festival during which farms open their doors to visitors for educational purposes and to instigate interactions between the population, visitors, and local producers.

Photo : Instagram @skordefestjh

Priority #3: Develop quality experiences

Get the support

A quality experience must be distinctive and memorable for visitors.This requires a good knowledge of visitor expectations and of customer experience trends. To offer a unique product, specialists can be called in to provide training (conferences, webinars, workshops, etc.) on developing customer experiences. If you represent an industry association or destination management organization, don’t hesitate to share available resources with agri-food operators (toolkits, grant opportunities, programs, etc.), particularly through provincial tourism associations and Destination Canada. For example, Nova Scotia Tourism offers several programs like RADIATE, which provides businesses with assistance in creating and marketing packages appealing to Maritime visitors.

Network recognition

Becoming a member of an association or network recognized for the quality of its certification or experiences is another way to promote your culinary heritage and stand out from the competition. For example, the ÉCONOMUSÉE Network Society brings together exceptional artisans and promotes their know-how while offering them support for development and marketing. Recognized and used internationally, the ÉCONOMUSÉE brand becomes a showcase for local products.


It is also possible for businesses to use or promote products from these networks without necessarily being part of them. For example, the ExcellenceNB project encourages businesses to identify their locally made products or to work with local suppliers. The association provides a brand image and toolkit to operators and in addition, sells ExcellenceNB certified products in an online boutique for individuals.

Logo Cultivé au NB
Photo : Excellence New-Brunswick

Priority #4: Strengthen collaboration and partnerships

Culinary tourism is often the result of collaboration between government and industry. While it is essential for institutions to put measures in place that will facilitate the development of food tourism, it is also important to promote collaboration between industry players to provide structure.

Create networks and bring stakeholders together

Gathering players around a joint project such as a culinary certification (e.g. Créateurs de saveurs, Eastern Townships) or a thematic experience (e.g. Taste of Nova Scotia tours) can help structure tourism and raise visitor awareness. In some cases, tours incorporate complementary businesses in a collaborative effort to promote the experience. Examples include the Circuit du Paysan (the Peasant circuit) in the Montérégie region and the “Friends of the Wine Route” in Brome-Missisquoi.

Banners identify the Friends of the Wine Route.

Encourage collaboration with other industry sectors

Other industry sectors such as accommodation or transportation can also play a part in promoting the local culinary heritage. In New Brunswick, a collaboration between the unique Cielo Maritime Glamping company and the CAVOK Brewing Co. led to the development of a lavender beer. Cielo Maritime Glamping harvested the lavender that grows near its domes and offered it to the microbrewery for the creation of a sour beer to be sold by both businesses.

Photo: Cielo Maritime Glamping Facebook page

Priority #5: Showcasing nature, landscapes, and outdoor activities

The study conducted by the CTA revealed that landscapes and the natural environment are the primary factor in attracting visitors to the rural and remote destinations that were analyzed. Discovering the local culinary heritage while enjoying outdoor activities makes perfect sense.

Outdoor activities and food tourism are in fact a perfect match. An excellent example is the gourmet hike La Randonnée gourmande (the foodie hike) in Val-Saint-François. The 10km guided hike combines physical activity, discovery of the region and tasting of local products.

Randonnée gourmande Val-Saint-François
La Randonnée Gourmande, 2018 edition


An interpretativetrail on local edible plants, an agrotourism bike tour, the tasting of atraditional recipe after a winter hike, there are a multitude of opportunities topair the local culinary heritage with outdoor activities. Be creative and don’thesitate to build experiences that truly reflect your destination.

Article written in collaboration with Expérience Acadie.

SOURCES

Top image: Pexels.com / Kristina Gain

Association de l’industrie touristique du Canada. « Enrichir l’expérience canadienne par le tourisme gourmand ».

Barry, Claudine. « Quand l’autocueillette devient une expérience », Réseau de Veille en Tourisme, 19 juin 2018.

« Cielo Glamping Maritime », page Facebook, consultée en octobre 2020.

« Circuit du Paysan », Circuit du Paysan, consulté en octobre 2020.

« Des produits locaux dans les restaurants de la région », Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est,18 avril 2019.

« Devenir un ÉCONOMUSÉE. Un modèle d’affaires »,ÉCONOMUSÉE, consulté en octobre 2020.

« Excellence Nouveau-Brunswick », consulté en octobre 2020.

« La Randonnée gourmande », Tourisme Val-Saint-François, consultée en octobre 2020.

« La Route des vins Brome-Missisquoi », La Route des Vins, consulté en octobre2020.

« La saison du cidre de glace 2020 », Domaine Lafrance, consulté en octobre 2020.

Lefebvre, Ghislain. « Un affichage qui porte ses fruits ! », Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est, 26 novembre 2018.

Neault, Chantal. « Shawinigan 100 % accueillant », Réseau de Veille en Tourisme, 3 décembre 2019.

« Réseau des villes créatives », UNESCO, consulté en octobre 2020.

« Plantation René Matte », consulté en octobre 2020.

« Ten Years as a Creative City of Gastronomy », Destination Östersund, consulté en octobre 2020.

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1
07/2021
AUTEUR
Audrey Ruffaut
ÉCLAIREZ VOS IDÉES

Showcasing the local culinary heritage

Read IN ENGLISH

Visitors seeking authenticity and an immersive cultural experience at a destination are turning to food tourism, generating local economic benefits along the way.

How do you shine a spotlight on a destination’s culinary heritage to turn it into a truly strategic asset?

As part of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada's (TIAC) Enriching the Canadian Experience program, the Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA) conducted research on best practices in international rural destinations that are known for their food tourism.

In an effort to help destinations promote their culinary heritage, this article details the five priorities set out by the CTA and provides concrete examples to support them. Please note that these examples were selected for their relevance and are not necessarily from the destinations included in the study.

Priority #1: Celebrate cultures and support communities

The products and expertise which compose a destination’s culinary heritage are an integral part of its culture. Culinary tourism can therefore be used to promote local traditions, know-how and all the businesses and organizations that make up local food circuits, provided there is recognition from all stakeholders in the agri-food sector: producers, processors, distributors, restauranteurs, etc. It should be emphasized that the promotion of products from short circuits also allows for a greater economic, social, and environmental impact on the community.

Identify and communicate

The bio-food development board of a rural region in the province of Quebec identified local products and put faces to the businesses who create them by establishing the distinctive Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est certification (Flavors creators of Cantons-de-l'Est). The products of various agri-food businesses are labelled with the certification brand name and marketed in several grocery stores in the region. In addition, the campaign depicting the producers themselves displayed in participating IGA grocery stores highlights local business owners and their products. The brand is also deployed among associated restaurants (labelled “Restaurants complices”) which feature local products on their menu.

Restaurants créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l'est
Photos :(Left) Screenshot of the Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est website.(Right) Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est

Turn residents into local ambassadors

What could be more authentic than locals sharing their appreciation for their local food scene? Putting residents at the heart of the promotional strategy and turning them into ambassadors is an increasingly common practice. Shawinigan Tourism opted for this strategy when it launched the Resident-Ambassador campaign in 2018, which provided opportunities for residents to get involved in a variety of ways. It ultimately led to the creation of a new tool that allows residents to share their recommendations and hidden treasures, particularly those related to culinary experiences.

Read The ABC of an operation seduction with residents for tips on how to attract this clientele..

The visitor’s guide contains ambassador recommendations. Source: Réseau de veille en tourisme

Priority #2: Focus on shoulder seasons

Culinary tourism is an opportunity to follow seasonal cycles and extend the tourist season by developing activities year-round.

Promote U-pick experiences

Although mainly practiced by a local clientele, pick-your-own experiences represent an excellent opportunity to extend the tourism season from spring to late fall, depending on the region and the products. The harvesting of fruits and vegetables outdoors addresses various issues: a need for social distancing due to COVID-19, lack of manpower for businesses and a growing interest in local purchasing and short circuits. The picking experience can be complemented with other activities (visits, entertainment, workshops). Some producers even offer the possibility of winter visits to pick Christmas trees, for example, or to collect frozen apples.

Atoceuillette de sapins de Noël et de pommes gelées
Left: Pick-your-own Christmas tree at Plantation René Matte. Right: Collecting frozen apples in January during the Ice Cider Festival at Domaine Lafrance.

Organize seasonal and themed events

What do the Shediac Lobster Festival (NB), the Fête des vendanges (Grape harvest festivity) in Magog (QC) and the Festival des champignons forestiers (Wild mushrooms festival) in Kamouraska (QC) have in common? They are all themed events that focus on a local product or tradition rooted in their region. These events provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to discover the local culinary scene. Seasonal activities tied to a specific time of year are also popular. Östersund, Sweden is part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for its gastronomy. The city holds an annual harvest festival during which farms open their doors to visitors for educational purposes and to instigate interactions between the population, visitors, and local producers.

Photo : Instagram @skordefestjh

Priority #3: Develop quality experiences

Get the support

A quality experience must be distinctive and memorable for visitors.This requires a good knowledge of visitor expectations and of customer experience trends. To offer a unique product, specialists can be called in to provide training (conferences, webinars, workshops, etc.) on developing customer experiences. If you represent an industry association or destination management organization, don’t hesitate to share available resources with agri-food operators (toolkits, grant opportunities, programs, etc.), particularly through provincial tourism associations and Destination Canada. For example, Nova Scotia Tourism offers several programs like RADIATE, which provides businesses with assistance in creating and marketing packages appealing to Maritime visitors.

Network recognition

Becoming a member of an association or network recognized for the quality of its certification or experiences is another way to promote your culinary heritage and stand out from the competition. For example, the ÉCONOMUSÉE Network Society brings together exceptional artisans and promotes their know-how while offering them support for development and marketing. Recognized and used internationally, the ÉCONOMUSÉE brand becomes a showcase for local products.


It is also possible for businesses to use or promote products from these networks without necessarily being part of them. For example, the ExcellenceNB project encourages businesses to identify their locally made products or to work with local suppliers. The association provides a brand image and toolkit to operators and in addition, sells ExcellenceNB certified products in an online boutique for individuals.

Logo Cultivé au NB
Photo : Excellence New-Brunswick

Priority #4: Strengthen collaboration and partnerships

Culinary tourism is often the result of collaboration between government and industry. While it is essential for institutions to put measures in place that will facilitate the development of food tourism, it is also important to promote collaboration between industry players to provide structure.

Create networks and bring stakeholders together

Gathering players around a joint project such as a culinary certification (e.g. Créateurs de saveurs, Eastern Townships) or a thematic experience (e.g. Taste of Nova Scotia tours) can help structure tourism and raise visitor awareness. In some cases, tours incorporate complementary businesses in a collaborative effort to promote the experience. Examples include the Circuit du Paysan (the Peasant circuit) in the Montérégie region and the “Friends of the Wine Route” in Brome-Missisquoi.

Banners identify the Friends of the Wine Route.

Encourage collaboration with other industry sectors

Other industry sectors such as accommodation or transportation can also play a part in promoting the local culinary heritage. In New Brunswick, a collaboration between the unique Cielo Maritime Glamping company and the CAVOK Brewing Co. led to the development of a lavender beer. Cielo Maritime Glamping harvested the lavender that grows near its domes and offered it to the microbrewery for the creation of a sour beer to be sold by both businesses.

Photo: Cielo Maritime Glamping Facebook page

Priority #5: Showcasing nature, landscapes, and outdoor activities

The study conducted by the CTA revealed that landscapes and the natural environment are the primary factor in attracting visitors to the rural and remote destinations that were analyzed. Discovering the local culinary heritage while enjoying outdoor activities makes perfect sense.

Outdoor activities and food tourism are in fact a perfect match. An excellent example is the gourmet hike La Randonnée gourmande (the foodie hike) in Val-Saint-François. The 10km guided hike combines physical activity, discovery of the region and tasting of local products.

Randonnée gourmande Val-Saint-François
La Randonnée Gourmande, 2018 edition


An interpretativetrail on local edible plants, an agrotourism bike tour, the tasting of atraditional recipe after a winter hike, there are a multitude of opportunities topair the local culinary heritage with outdoor activities. Be creative and don’thesitate to build experiences that truly reflect your destination.

Article written in collaboration with Expérience Acadie.

SOURCES

Top image: Pexels.com / Kristina Gain

Association de l’industrie touristique du Canada. « Enrichir l’expérience canadienne par le tourisme gourmand ».

Barry, Claudine. « Quand l’autocueillette devient une expérience », Réseau de Veille en Tourisme, 19 juin 2018.

« Cielo Glamping Maritime », page Facebook, consultée en octobre 2020.

« Circuit du Paysan », Circuit du Paysan, consulté en octobre 2020.

« Des produits locaux dans les restaurants de la région », Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est,18 avril 2019.

« Devenir un ÉCONOMUSÉE. Un modèle d’affaires »,ÉCONOMUSÉE, consulté en octobre 2020.

« Excellence Nouveau-Brunswick », consulté en octobre 2020.

« La Randonnée gourmande », Tourisme Val-Saint-François, consultée en octobre 2020.

« La Route des vins Brome-Missisquoi », La Route des Vins, consulté en octobre2020.

« La saison du cidre de glace 2020 », Domaine Lafrance, consulté en octobre 2020.

Lefebvre, Ghislain. « Un affichage qui porte ses fruits ! », Créateurs de saveurs Cantons-de-l’Est, 26 novembre 2018.

Neault, Chantal. « Shawinigan 100 % accueillant », Réseau de Veille en Tourisme, 3 décembre 2019.

« Réseau des villes créatives », UNESCO, consulté en octobre 2020.

« Plantation René Matte », consulté en octobre 2020.

« Ten Years as a Creative City of Gastronomy », Destination Östersund, consulté en octobre 2020.

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