10 Culinary Travel Trends for 2015

Madrid Tapas Bar

What travel trends will shape your trip decisions in 2015? Well, for starters, you can expect more choices from the rapidly expanding sharing economy, more opportunities to discover boutique destinations not previously on the foodie trail, and, of course, plenty of new technology.

Check out some of the top trends predicted by two industry heavyweights.

The World Food Travel Association

The World Food Travel Association (WFTA), the world’s leading authority on food and drink tourism, has released its new 2015 FoodTrekking Monitor. The Monitor is a report on, and prognosis for, the world’s food and drink tourism industry. It’s positioned as an annual report that will serve as a bellwether, or temperature check, on the industry as a whole, showing yearly change and growth. The WFTA identified the following ten food and drink tourism industry trends in this year’s Monitor:

Changing Demographics – Today’s gourmet travelers are evolving from past preconceptions of who foodie travelers really are. 

  • Customers from Asia are youngest, while those from North America are the oldest
  • Europe and North America are the most popular areas for food/drink tours
  • Global average trip length is 5.3 days
  • Less than 1/3 of customer bookings are made entirely online

As one of the new breed of food trippers, you’re also more likely to splurge on affordable luxury experiences, like a cooking class at the Ritz, or a multi-course tasting menu at a trendy NYC restaurant.

Increasing Sustainability Sensitivity – More concern about food/drink waste and its packaging waste. As conscientious citizens of the world, you’re taking the reduce-reuse-recycle motto on the road, even packing your own refillable water bottles and coffee mugs.

Local Sourcing Still Hot – Continued interest in sourcing & buying local food and drink. You’re on the look-out for more local gourmet markets and shops. You’re also looking forward to their appearance in airport terminals and train stations.

Fresh fruit displayed at a street market

More Expensive – Increased costs for food, drink, water, labor and transportation. The news isn’t all good. Expect to spend more on food, drink and experiences than ever before.

More Knowledgeable Travelers – Knowing more than ever; still seeking new and different. Smart purveyors of food and drink will tantalize you with exciting new ingredients and products.

Authenticity Thriving – Still important to foodies. Whether you’re exploring a country, region, city or neighbourhood, you’re still searching to find a sense of place through food.

Increasing Destination Competition – More competition among tourism offices for a “slice of the pie”. Destinations not previously thought of as foodie hot spots will be on your radar in 2015.

Strong Mobile Growth – Fast, reliable 3G/4G/wi-fi service is a requirement. You see it as a necessity. You expect it to be free. Another emerging tech trend is the iPad ordering systems that promise to make airports a little less terrible.

Peer to Peer Dining Experiences – Coming onto the scene in a strong way. Peer to Peer Dining is the AirBnB of meals. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more authentic experience than eating a meal cooked by a local in their own home. Popular services include EatWith, Feastly, MealSharing, and CookApp. If you’re not familiar with this trend, The Road Les Traveled has published an entertaining article on the subject, Sharing is Caring with Peer to Peer Dining.

Neon sign home cooking

Wellness Packaged with Food – Now integrated into food and drink tourism. Expect fresher, healthier food choices at hotels, restaurants, airports and even onboard planes and trains. You’ll also have more active culinary adventure packages and tours to choose from, like those featured in our post Eat Drink Ride: 5 Cycling Tours for Food Lovers.

Bicycle Tours

Skift

While not specific to food tourism, the following Megatrends Defining Travel in 2015 from Skift will spill over into almost every niche.

Hospitality is Now Driving Innovation in Travel

It’s not the airlines or online travel companies that are charting the future direction of travel. According to Skift’s report, the new driver of the proverbial tour bus is the hospitality industry, “For the first time since online booking of travel became mainstream, hotels are being rewired and rethought from top to bottom, and every obvious part of hospitality is being turned over, questioned, and retooled.” Some hotels are testing Netflix as part of their in-room entertainment, while others are equipping rooms with tablets so they can deliver your morning newspaper (and magazines) through an online subscription service.

Rise of the Boutique Destination

Move over London, Paris, and Rome. Fed up with stifling crowds and mile-long queues, you’re ready to explore some less-discovered gems – like Lexington, Kentucky or Kelowna, B.C.  According to Skift, ‘smaller destinations are finding smart ways to market what they are, not what they think others want them to be. And they’re finding success reaching visitors outside of traditional media and advertising.”

The Rise of Ubiquitous Booking

Expect the booking process to become even more mobile-friendly, streamlined, efficient, and quick.

Mobile Pay and Wearable Tech Move From Concept to Real-World Disruptor

iPhones equipped with Apple Pay are already mainstream. In 2015, watch for wearable tech like the Apple Watch and Android Wear to change the way you pay.

Travel Brands Reimagine Themselves as Lifestyle Connoisseurs

Skift says, “Amid increased competition and more sophisticated marketing tools, a lifestyle brand that connects to travelers’ ideals of themselves and the world has become the one vehicle left for building a long-term meaningful relationship with customers. It will be the key differentiator for future generations and a staple of product development moving forward.” At the very least, you can expect your favourite travel brand will be on Instagram.

Madrid Tapas Bar

Where ever your travels take you in 2015, we hope your next food trip is ripe with delicious meals and memories.

More food and travel trends…

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