Food and wine tourism: if you don’t communicate it, you don’t benefit from it
In January 2020, still unaware of the imminent spread of the Coronavirus, the World Food Travel Association published its latest “State of the Food Travel Industry Report” in which 96% of the experts interviewed were optimistic about the growth of the Food and Wine Tourism sector for the next two years. In spite of the difficult consequences for the tourism industry and in particular for the global mobility triggered by Covid-19, the role of food and wine as a key factor in the tourist’s travel motivation is increasingly recognised.
Since food and wine are key elements not only for the tourism demand but also for the tourism supply, a recent study by the European Travel Commission takes into account the destination websites of 35 of its Member Countries in order to investigate how destinations’ food and wine attractions are communicated to potential tourists.
The study shows that local food and wine products are somehow always present in the analysed websites, but they are not considered and communicated as a type of tourism but rather as relevant elements of the local culture that complement other types of tourism. The Italian example, the study points out, is significant: the ENIT tourism portal places the theme of food and wine in the broader menu section called “Extras” which, due to the intrinsic meaning of the word, does not arouse the specific interest of potential food and wine tourists, who are instead interested in discovering experiences linked to the food theme, one of the primary motivations for those visiting Italy.
We at Twissen have observed that it is necessary to re-design the online communication strategy of DMOs, placing greater emphasis on informative and suggestive content related to food and wine tourism, which is especially significant in the decision-making phase of the customer journey. If on the one hand food and wine experiences are more difficult to communicate as they imply multisensory and intangible activities, on the other hand multimedia materials such as emotional videos, together with a systematisation and variety of information available on the website, become essential for an effective communication.