Allegrini 2018

Food & Wine Tourism Forum: Italy’s winning formula, but we need to focus on innovation

The Forum in Grinzane Cavour, meetings, workshops and study groups, a snapshot of a sector worth 2.5 billion euros and 14 million people employed
Italy’s food and wine tourism sector was the main star at the Food & Wine Tourism Forum

The numbers for food and wine tourism in Italy, that is, 2.5 billion euros and counting 14 million people employed, were presented at the Food & Wine Tourism Forum, which took place recently at the Castle of Grinzane Cavour (Cuneo), and has now become a reference point for the sector. Italy’s numbers, in addition to the 85 billion euros of turnover in the catering sector, which registered record figures in 2018, fully demonstrate how the wine & food sector is a winning sector for Italy, as well as how it attracts the attention of millions of tourists who choose Italy for their holidays every year, not only are they fascinated by the breathtaking landscapes, but also they are also attracted to the enormous offer of experiences related to traditional products, from wine to food. The “journey” within the food and wine tourism world was addressed in four subjects at the Forum of Grinzane Cavour, making it therefore possible to explore the theme in depth which also included meetings and study groups, presentations and workshops: food, wine, social and tourism.
The Google study, presented at the Forum, confirmed the global interest for the Italian food and wine world, while also highlighting that Italian cuisine and food are the most sought after items on the famous search engine, followed by the Mexican, Thai, Japanese and French cuisines and food. The continents where Italian food is googled the most are Africa, Asia and some of the countries in South America. The data on wines is also quite interesting, as Prosecco is the most sought after Italian wine in the world, and even more so seasonally, and precisely in the summer, followed by Barolo, Barbaresco and Dolcetto wines. The United Kingdom is the nation that searches Prosecco the most, Denmark googles mostly Barolo, Norway googles Barbaresco and Bosnia and Herzegovina both google Dolcetto the most. Concentrating on the food world then, Travel Appeal presented the report, “Wine & food in Italy”, a study based on an analysis of over 17 million online reviews of restaurants, accommodation facilities and experiences, relating to the quality of food served at restaurant tables, catering in accommodation facilities, and food & wine tasting experiences.
The three sectors that the Big Data and Artificial Intelligence company examined, under the section, “Food & Wine” were accommodation, catering, offers of experiences and activities. The overall satisfaction of guests remained high and growing for catering (85.5% positive sentiment). Food quality was confirmed the aspect that had the most impact on user reviews, and as a matter of fact it averaged 40% of overall opinions and a very high sentiment of 86.6%. The three regions where restaurants received the highest appreciation for food quality were Umbria, Tuscany and Trentino Alto Adige. One of the most influential aspects on final satisfaction; that is, typical dishes and products, deserve a special space of its own. Throughout the entire national territory, “Crusca Peppers” from Lucania were cited the most, while ”Carne Salada” from Trentino and “Polenta Concia” were the most cited typical dishes in the positive 4-5 star reviews. It is quite interesting to note that homemade desserts or homemade pasta stand out among the most cited elements, as well as, naturally, the appreciation for the wide selection of wines, mentioned in 91% of the cases in very positive reviews. The data Trip Advisor Italy presented on the theme of the wine offer connected to tourism reflects the case history of Langhe and Roero, as it outlined a picture of the habits of Italian and foreign tourists who choose Langhe and Roero, and more generally the Cuneo territory, for their holidays. The Piedmont region ranks seventh among the most booked Italian regions for Food Tours and Wine Tours & Wine Tastings. The city of Turin is in the lead, followed by Asti, Langhe and Roero and Monferrato. The foreign countries that have booked more food and wine tours and tastings in the Langhe indicate the United States in first place, followed by Switzerland, Norway and Hong Kong. Food and wine tours, which are then further divided into wine tours and wine tastings, cooking classes and gastronomic tours take third place of the most booked attractions on Trip Advisor. Views of Trip Advisor users on content related to Langhe and Roero, instead, grew 20.8% compared to the previous year, and there was a peak of interest between September and October 2018. Switzerland ranked number one of the Countries that viewed the most contents of this territory, followed by France, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany.
The potential, therefore, is enormous, and the immense Italian food and wine offer makes Italy the winner in the tourism sector, even though resources and innovation linked to the sector are not yet sufficiently developed. The theme of innovation must be central in the development of tourism and food and wine, and the priority must be to think of new formats to intrigue and involve foreign tourists, in order to maintain them and then entice them to return. This sector is evolving quickly and we need to be able to predict the tourism of the future, anticipate needs and adapt to the market.

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