Gastronomic tourism is a new way to meet the new needs of people for a better life, and it is also a new driving force to promote the high-quality development of the tourism industry. The 2023 China Gastronomic Tourism Development Forum, hosted by the China Tourism Academy and others, was recently held in Chenzhou, Hunan Province, aiming to promote the in-depth integration and development of "gastronomy + tourism" in China and explore the development path of gastronomic tourism. At the forum, the "2023 China Gastronomic Tourism Development Report" (hereinafter referred to as the "Report"), "China's <> Gastronomic Tourism Cities", "China's Gourmet Tourism <> Streets", "China's Gastronomic Tourism Ten Enterprises" and "China's Gastronomic Tourism Special Contribution Cases" were released.

Food attracts people to travel

Food has always been in an important position in Chinese's concept of life, and it also ranks first among the six elements of tourism (food, accommodation, travel, travel, shopping and entertainment).

In 2019, China has formed a scale of 60.06 billion travelers, and more than eighty percent of tourists have moved beyond the initial stage of simply enjoying beautiful scenery to the middle and advanced stages of feeling a better life, and enjoying off-site cuisine in the form of tourism has become an important option.

Dai Bin, president of China Tourism Research Institute, pointed out that catering is the basic element of mass tourism, and food is a rigid demand for moderately prosperous tourism. The more beautiful scenery is seen, the scene is rich, and the demand for food begins to arise. Tourists are increasingly enjoying the rich and colorful food culture and special dining of various places, and food has become an increasingly important part of the tourism attraction system.

According to a survey by the gastronomic tourism research group of the China Tourism Research Institute, 92.3% of the respondents will do food strategies before or during travel. 93.1% of respondents cited experiencing local cuisine as one of the main factors of travel; Among the respondents who travel for business, 76.8% will find time to find local food outside of business activities.

The report shows that more and more tourists are coming to the public leisure spaces of tourist destinations to share the local public services and business environment. Local breakfasts, late-night snacks and a variety of restaurants provide more options for tourists to spend in layers.

Multiple models drive development

The report analyzes that the 1999 National Day Golden Week marked the advent of the era of mass tourism based on national consumption. Over the past 20 years of mass tourism, the flow of gastronomic tourism initially mainly from rural to urban areas, and then the two-way flow began to increase. At present, the trend of seeking differentiated gastronomic experiences between urban and rural areas will become stronger, and the flow intensity and frequency will become higher.

The report points out that there are several development models of gastronomic tourism in China, the first of which is the traditional food-driven development model represented by eight major cuisines and specialty restaurants. Fresh seafood from Guangdong, hot pot from Chengdu and Chongqing, beef noodles from Lanzhou, water treasures from Jiangnan, and noodles from Shanxi are all food maps in the eyes of ordinary people. Market-oriented and productized food routes are all eaten and come out.

"My itinerary is my choice, my food is my choice", tourists in tourist destinations should not only eat taste, but also eat healthier and more personal. The report points out that fashionable cuisine driven by capital, cultural creativity and modern business models has also become the development model of gastronomic tourism. Demand is business opportunities, Changshawen Heyou, Haidilao, Beijing Banquet, as well as tea that is widely loved by young people, Heytea, Michelle Ice City... All become a check-in point for tourists. It is worth noting that in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing and other metropolises, international catering brands have been widely involved in the local food map, becoming a new highlight of gastronomic tourism, whether it is McDonald's, KFC for the public, or Michelin-listed Beijing Jingzhaoyin, Shanghai UV ultraviolet rays, Guangzhou Garden Hotel Stiller, they have become a new contemporary food space shared by hosts and guests with international standards and fashion.

Dai Bin believes that many times, tourists eat food, experience fashion and personality, and pursue personal lifestyles. Once food has started the process of deep integration with tourism, whether we want it or not, the business restaurants of high-star hotels, the social restaurants of commercial blocks and breakfast snacks all over the community will inevitably be impacted and transformed by the needs of foreign tourists.

In addition, with the transformation of tourism space from scenery to scene, the position of gastronomy in the construction and development system of tourism destinations has become more and more prominent. Promoting gastronomic tourism brands is also a model for gastronomic tourism development. Zhejiang's "Hundred Counties and Thousands of Bowls", Hunan's "Taste of Hunan Go to Xiangdang Taste", Anhui's "Anhui Beautiful Taste, Famous Snacks of 100 Counties", Guangzhou Asian Food Festival, Tsingtao Beer Festival, Jinan Lu Cuisine Food Festival and other successful marketing cases show that food has been incorporated into the strategic vision of local tourism development, and has become a new driving force to promote tourism consumption and promote the high-quality development of tourism.

Cultivate gastronomic city blocks

The "Report" pointed out that those areas with strong gastronomic cultural roots, perfect commercial supporting facilities, and strong residents' travel potential are also relatively concentrated areas for gastronomic tourism, and the country has presented four major gastronomic tourism agglomeration areas around the Bohai Sea, Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Chengdu-Chongqing. Relying on modern comprehensive cities, a number of gastronomic tourism cities and neighborhoods should be cultivated, supplemented by key tourism villages and towns, and then form a spatial support for gastronomic tourism.

The "Report" suggests that high-end star hotels and influential social catering should be relied on to cultivate market entities and product brands of gastronomic tourism. At the same time, local specialty restaurants will be promoted to the tourism market, and local cuisine will be transformed into tourism cuisine through word-of-mouth communication. Focus on the role of travel agencies, online travel platforms and new media platforms, and include food in the tourist destination strategy, so that more tourists can visit a city for the food they want.

The report also suggests that cultural tourism and relevant departments should guide local governments and enterprises to strengthen international cooperation with Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and make use of multilateral mechanisms and social forces to launch brands such as "East Asian Gastronomic Tourism Capital", "Gourmet Tourism Journey along the Belt and Road", "Welcome China – Gourmet Restaurant" and "Hello, China – Gourmet Tour" to help promote the internationalization and quality of gastronomic tourism. (People's Daily Overseas Edition reporter: Zhao Shan)