Who We Are: The World's Leading Authority on Food Tourism
What We Do: We Create Economic Opportunities
Research shows that 93% of travelers create long-lasting, fond memories based on their experiences with an area’s food and beverage. The distinctive local food and beverage products, culinary history and hospitality are the foundation of an area’s character, and that's what attracts both visitors and locals.
The Mission of the World Food Travel Association (WFTA) is to create economic opportunities where food and beverage meet travel and hospitality. Our education, training, research, events and networking opportunities help trade professionals and organizations to leverage an area’s food and beverage to help create a strong sense of place. This increases visitor arrivals; brand equity; and export demand for an area's food and beverage products.
Our Goals are as follows:
- To provide thought leadership to the world's food & beverage tourism industry.
- To help preserve and promote culinary cultures around the world.
- To educate consumers about the importance of local food & beverage products to an area's economy.
Where We Came From: Our History
In 2001, Erik Wolf (pictured left) wrote a white paper Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest. Just two short years later, he founded the organization known as the International Culinary Tourism Association. The Association rebranded in 2012 as the World Food Travel Association after research showed that English speakers misunderstood the intended meaning of "culinary tourism". Erik still serves as its Executive Director today. And just one point of clarification: our organization's full legal name is "International Culinary Tourism Institute" but we don't use that very often. We registered "World Food Travel Association" in the US State of Oregon as a "trading as/doing business as" name. That is the name by which we are known publicly.
The Association has always been at the forefront of education, research and trendspotting in the world's food and beverage tourism industry. In its first 10 years, the Association hosted international conferences (2004, 2005, 2010, 2013, 2017) and regional USA seminars and conferences (2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2104, 2015, 2016). The Association also conducted the world's first global study about food travelers in 2007, which was updated and expanded in 2010, 2013 and 2016. In 2006, the original white paper from 2001 was updated and turned into a book, also called Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest. Then in 2014, the Association published Have Fork Will Travel, a handbook for industry professionals that details over 50 interrelated components of our industry, and helps all kinds of professionals to understand what food and beverage tourism is, and how to benefit from participating in our industry.
Over the years, our Association has grown in its membership, scope of activities, and visibility. Today, we shepherd a community of nearly 50,000 professionals in 139 countries. We engage in four primary areas of activity, namely Education; Awards & Recognition; Research & Consulting; and Publishing. We are the go-to resource for writers, videographers, producers and bloggers around the world and have served many of the world’s major media outlets including the BBC, Newsweek, Business Week, CNN, Associated Press and Forbes. In our nearly 20 years, the World Food Travel Association has achieved leadership status and respect in food, beverage, tourism and hospitality circles world-wide.
PEOPLE WHO HAVE HEARD US SPEAK: 100,000+
COMMUNITY SIZE: 50,000+
COUNTRIES REPRESENTED: 139
NEWSLETTER READERS: 23,000+
LINKEDIN GROUP MEMBERS: 11,000+
FACEBOOK FOLLOWERS: 4,000+
WORLD CONFERENCES PRODUCED: 5
REGIONAL CONFERENCES PRODUCED: 10
BOOKS PUBLISHED: 2
Where We're Going: Our Future
In our 2015 State of the Industry report, we asked professionals in our industry what they expected for our industry in the next 10 years, and what they wanted to see. What was our future and how would they like our industry to evolve? We incorporated their feedback into an industry initiative called “Food Tourism 2025”. So far, this has led to the development and introduction of new tools, products and services such as annual FoodTrekking Awards, our FoodTrekking World event and Business of Food Travel podcast. Over the next several years, we will continue to work with our industry to develop and/or refine our products for both professionals and consumers. Would you like to help us chart the course for the future of our industry? Join us and become part of our journey.