The global culinary tourism industry size was valued at USD 804.95 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 3,281.70 billion by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 16.90% during the forecast period (2023-2031).
Culinary tourism entails exploring or traveling to far-flung exotic locations while indulging in the local cuisine to gain a sense of the area. It features memorable vacation encounters when visitors engage with locals and learn about their fundamental beliefs through food. A specific type of tourism, culinary travel, encompasses various activities like cooking lessons, restaurants, food festivals, and other culinary-related events. Globally, the culinary tourism industry is expanding exponentially as tourists choose to travel to lesser-known locations. Additionally, the expansion of government initiatives in the form of public-private partnerships to promote tourism has contributed to the expansion of the tourist sector overall and, ultimately, helped the culinary tourism market.
Technology is now necessary to ensure that many tasks are completed flawlessly, and the travel and tourism sector is no exception. Technology has supported the tourism and hospitality sectors for as long as anybody can remember. Technology is upending the established business with the introduction of web-based booking and the application of "AI" and "IoT" in operation optimization. Online hotel aggregators and search engines are two examples of technology-driven firms that have substantially invested in big data analytics. To deliver a smooth customer experience, artificial intelligence has also been implemented in Chatbots and virtual assistants.
The overall number of international visits and travelers' choice of destinations have been impacted by political upheaval and terrorism. Tourist views of destinations and travel behavior are often greatly influenced by the threat of terrorism. A disaster hurts the area's reputation for safety and the tourism industry for a long time. For example, after the most recent terrorist attacks, tourism in Sri Lanka dropped for a long time. As a result of the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, several tour companies canceled reservations there until April 2020. The world tourism business is in turmoil due to political unrest and terrorism.
The increase in travel and tourism to uncommon locations for various reasons, including leisure, adventure, food, and more, has demonstrated impressive resilience worldwide. The top three food tourist destinations are the United States, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. Due to tourists' rising desire to sample the local cuisine and drinks, ASEAN has seen a dramatic surge in travelers in recent years. Today, destinations like Papua New Guinea are in high demand for cultural tourism. In contrast to the nation's historical, ecological, and cultural tourism advantages, Papua New Guinea has thrived admirably in recent years by concentrating on specialized markets. Travelers worldwide have been drawn to third-world nations by soft adventure, historical tourism, diving, bird viewing, and cultural tourism.
The global culinary tourism market is segmented by activity type, age group, and booking mode.
The global culinary tourism market is bifurcated based on activity type into culinary trails, cooking classes, restaurants, food festivals, and others.
The food festival segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 17.40% during the forecast period. Food festivals are occasions where a particular food item or beverage is significantly enjoyed. Many people are invited to attend and participate in culinary festivals, such as the pizza feast celebrated in Italy or the Oktoberfest hosted in Germany. Food festivals are essential in attracting tourists to locations where these events are held. The market for food festivals can be related to travelers' increasing interest in unique and flavorful culinary experiences. Additionally, the market expansion of culinary travel through this category is driven by the expanding food culture and the increased accessibility and simplicity of arranging vacations.
Tourists in culinary trials travel to major cities while sampling diverse foods. This might be a group activity or even something you do alone. One of the travelers' most well-known culinary products is the food sold in street shops. Tourists favor street cuisine from places like ASEAN, China, Japan, India, Latin America, and Mexico because it is inexpensive, tasty, and has a distinctive preparation method. The market for culinary experiences can be ascribed to travelers' increasing interest in unusual foods and beverages. Additionally, culinary trails enable travelers to make the most of their vacation time by quickly touring various places and tasting the local cuisine.
Cooking lessons are becoming more popular among tourists of all ages eager to learn how to prepare new foods. They are a rising segment of the culinary tourism sector. This activity's format is quite flexible because it can range from a short three hours to a full day or, in some situations, a multi-day course. A visit to the neighborhood market may also be incorporated into this activity to further the cultural experience. Most foreign visitors take cooking classes geared toward the regional foods of the country they are visiting.
The global culinary tourism market is bifurcated based on age groups into baby boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z.
The Generation Y segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 18.10% during the forecast period. Millennial travelers are those between the ages of 21 and 34 or those born between 1980 and 2000. More than 200 million tourists in the millennial generation are anticipated to generate USD 180 million globally, a roughly 30% rise since 2007. The Caribbean, Mexico, and a few European nations were visited by American millennial tourists in 2015. Even though they have moderate spending habits, at least 95% of these groups travel at least once a year. The millennial generation prefers to avoid traveling with families or kids. Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Sydney, Buenos Aires, and San Francisco are their top destinations.
Baby boomers are travelers between the ages of 50 and 65. They are the most frequent leisure travelers, taking an average of 4-5 trips per year, although due to health concerns, they are less engaged in gastronomic tourism. However, many of this demographic group are driven to travel to experience new foods. Of all age groups, baby boomers spend the most money on travel, but just 5–10% of market participants focus on them. The Caribbean and Europe are some of this demographic group's top destinations. In the United States, baby boomers are more likely to travel domestically rather than internationally.
Generation X is more interested in vacations that allow them to see new cultures and locations. The Gen X age group enjoys higher disposable income and time off from work than millennials. Every year, it has been determined that roughly two-thirds of Gen-Xers with high incomes and half of those with low incomes plan leisure travel. Generation X tends to be married and have kids. Thus, their locations reflect this. They also take care of their requirements, go to unfamiliar regions, and like to go abroad to places like the United States, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Latin America, and New Zealand in pursuit of new culinary experiences.
Generation Z, sometimes referred to as gen Z, is a group born after 1995. With 32% of the worldwide population, this generation has comparable purchasing power to the millennials. Generation Z is very frugal and values unique travel experiences. The Generation Z generation is very tech aware and spends much time online. They are heavily impacted by social media and frequently get the travel bug from it.
Based on the booking mode, the global culinary tourism market is bifurcated into OTAs, traditional agents, and direct booking.
The OTAs segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 18.25% during the forecast period. In this group, an online travel agent is a store that sells travel and tourist services online. Travelers today are very used to using this method to plan their trips. This is because there are so many vacation packages to choose from. The market for culinary tourism is expected to experience exponential expansion during the forecast period. The development of smartphone use for booking travel can be credited to this segment's growth. Additionally, this booking method is reasonably practical, and different agency promotions entice travelers to choose the OTA method.
Travel agents' primary income source is booking commissions for lodging, tours, guided tours, and other services. The sale of insurance, travel manuals, schedules for public transportation, and money exchange are some more revenue options. Additionally, the operators give incentives to travel agencies to advertise their goods. Knowledge of the destination and effective time management for travel and transportation are the main factors promoting the growth of travel agencies.
Many seasoned travelers prefer making direct reservations with service providers to reduce costs. With the introduction of web portals, many service providers can now communicate with potential customers directly. Additionally, various travel blogs and customer reviews assist other travelers in making the best decisions when selecting new activities, locations, and other associated services. Experienced travelers frequently make direct reservations. This market is anticipated to expand steadily throughout the forecast period because of the simplicity with which travel arrangements can now be made thanks to technological advancements.
Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market
The global culinary tourism market is divided into four regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant revenue contributor and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.90% during the forecast period. The Asia-Pacific region is quite popular with tourists from throughout the world. This region is expected to experience the fastest growth in tourist arrivals compared to the other areas. A further incentive for culinary tourists to book travel to the Asia-Pacific region is the number of places to discover, each offering a wide selection of regional foods and distinctive beverages. The expansion of the tourism industry and, later, the culinary tourism industry was facilitated by economic growth, increased competition, the loosening of travel restrictions, and aggressive marketing tactics used by regional tourism groups.
Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 16.40% during the forecast period. People with significant disposable income can be found in Europe, an advanced continent. The overall outlook for leisure inbounds and outbound travel is positive as Europe's GDP rises steadily. To entice a potential culinary traveler, it also boasts a lot of tourist destinations, exotic retreats, a range of foods, and renowned food festivals. Europe's enormous diversity, whether in terms of tourist destinations or cuisine and drink options, is the primary reason fostering the expansion of adventure travel in the continent. Europe is a favorite destination for food travelers because it is home to many historically significant nations, cultures, languages, and culinary diversity.
North America is home to Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, and other breathtaking panoramas like the wild frontiers of the nation's renowned National Parks from Yosemite to Yellowstone. Additionally, this area offers a genuine cowboy ranch experience in Texas, beautiful nature, wildlife in Canada and Alaska, and Rocky Mountain rail travel. Traditional meals from North America include she-crab soup, fried green tomatoes, and more. Culinary tourism has become a crucial component of the modern hospitality sector and economy in the North American region. The growing demand for authenticity among visitors to the area fuels the growth of the culinary tourism industry in North America.
Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America comprise the LAMEA region. In the LAMEA culinary tourism market, the Middle East dominates. However, Latin America has the fastest pace of growth. Economic expansion and government measures to diversify wealth generating across the travel and tourism sector are the main drivers of market growth in this region. The increasingly affluent population and people's growing passion for travel and vacations drive the LAMEA market for leisure travel. Additionally, increased social media exposure has increased the popularity of leisure and gastronomic tourism in LAMEA. Further, the popularity of cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai as holiday spots draw tourists from around the globe, which fuels the expansion of this regional industry.
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