People, Travel

High Potentials for Boosting Culinary Tourism

Travel & Environment Desk
Travel agents should begin offering culinary-focused tours.
Travel agents should begin offering culinary-focused tours.

Travel experts unanimously believe there is hardly a better way to learn about the local culture of a place than by experiencing its food and dining customs.

A growing number of globetrotters for whom gastronomic pursuits are more than just a hobby have compelled tour operators to design itineraries based on their clients' taste buds.

Based on a report earlier this month by the Travel Market Report, an increasing number of young tourists hold food-related experiences in high regard.

With over 2,500 types of food and 109 drinks, Iran has all it needs to become the foodies' dream destination, although many Iranians are unaware of the staggering culinary diversity their country has to offer.

They can hardly be blamed though: Restaurants across the country offer painfully similar dining experiences, concocting the same types of kebab and stews across Iran. Some establishments may offer one or two local dishes, but that hardly counts as diverse.

In a bid to promote local cuisine, eight food festivals have been held in various parts of the country in recent years. However, organizers have been criticized for what the critics call "waste of money" for "unnecessary" festivals.

But they have been proven wrong: ISNA reported on Tuesday that Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization has used the feedback from these festivals to draft culinary guidelines for restaurants to follow.

The guidelines, which will soon be published, will compel catering establishments to offer an array of local cuisine, including vegetarian meals. This will particularly sit well with vegetarians who often struggle to find restaurants in Iran that serve a variety of vegan dishes.

Countries such as France, Italy, China and Malaysia may have a headstart on culinary tourism but Iran, despite jumping into the fray a bit late, has a good shot at becoming a popular destination for food tourists, as long as guidelines are followed and travel agents begin offering culinary-focused tours.

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