Travellers regularly seek authentic, local experiences, but Travelzoo’s latest survey has revealed that experiencing culinary culture was one of the major factors to propel travellers to visit a foreign country.
Travelzoo’s 2019 Fall Travel Trends Survey has shown that visiting famous landmarks was the most popular reason for going overseas a (41%), while trying new food and experiencing the culinary culture of a destination came a close second (39%).
Italian, Chinese, and Japanese were the three most popular types of cuisine among respondents from all surveyed countries. Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean were the top three cuisines that respondents were curious to try in future.
The survey gathered opinions from 9,000 respondents from nine countries. 53% of them said they had gone on vacations for food or food-centred activities. Respondents aged from 25 to 44 were twice as likely to go on these journeys of culinary discovery than people who were 55 or older.
Local cuisines were the preferred choice as travellers wanted to try something new and special (62%) or have an authentic experience exploring the local culture (54%).
A local touch was high on traveller wish lists, being more receptive to responsible travel solutions and food sustainability. 77% of respondents said they wanted their food to have been sourced locally as a means to support the local economy and community; while 43% of respondents said that supporting local people and communities gave them a different and valuable experience to be close to the culture of their chosen destinations.
“Authentic gastronomic experiences are a perfect bridge between travellers and the culture and history of the destinations they visit. Travelzoo works directly with local restaurants and experience providers to enable members to enjoy local community and culture in a responsible way,” said Sharry Sun, global head of brand at Travelzoo.
Of special note is that as one of the biggest growth markets for tourism, Chinese travellers can now be found around the globe tasting dishes. The survey showed that 96% of Chinese respondents had tried a vacation that was about food and culinary experiences, while 70% of them had tried food on vacation that they had never even heard of before. Chinese consumers usually spent US$95 per person, per day, on food – about 80% more than the global average.