Eating and drinking is a basic requirement for people and when you go abroad what you eat is a very important issue. Apart from cultural and historical touristic attractions, food tourism is now also rising around the world. Experiencing new tastes are very popular nowadays for tourists and they started to plan their vacations according to the food culture.
Nowadays 88,2% of people going abroad say that ‘To pick a destination, food is a key to make a choice.” The competition in tourism sector now lead the companies and countries to attract more tourists in alternative ways. For example they are organizing pizza tours in Italy, wine tastings in France or chocolate festivals in Switzerland.
Turkey is a perfect destination for food tourism. Anatolia hosted many civilizations and many cultures and historical values were left. This lead a wide range of food culture alternatives. Turkey is serving a good culture harmony with its geographical advantages. The wide range of plants, vegetables, fruits growing in this rich soils enable Turkey to play for the first rank in food tourism around the world.
The tourists in Turkey spends 157$ for food per capita per visit. It is now aimed with several projects tor rise this number to 250 $. Because of that a Gastronomy Association was established and every year they are organising food tours especially in Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa, the South East Region of Turkey which is famous for their rich food culture.
The association is collaborating with chamber of commerces in each region which enables them to have a big step. The regional chambers want to promote their ‘local tastes’ to the world. They are starting to organize food tours from Far East countries which start to spend more money in food tourism. There are many visitors from Japan to taste the local food of Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Hatay, Adana or Mardin. The typical tastes from these cities are being promoted one by one to tourists who are interested in this gastronomical adventure. The Gastronomy Association is developing also tehcnical projects to help this sector to grow. They are planning to develop a mobile app which will include ‘Food Map of Turkey’ and be advertised in Ataturk Airport to reach more foreigners.
In Turkey there are 124 products which obtained geographical certification. The most certified food region is in Erzurum, followed by Kayseri, Manisa, Mersin, Mardin, Afyon, Bursa and İzmir. Şanlıurfa is waiting for a registration for 26 different types of food for its region.
In UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, there are 4 traditional food from Turkey: ‘Ceremonial Keşkek Tradition’, Mesir Macunu Festival’, ‘Turkish Coffee and Culture’, ‘Flatbread making and sharing culture: Lavash, Katyrma, Jupka, Yufka’. Gaziantep applied for the list with its food and beverage culture. Gaziantep also is a candidate city for ‘World Food and Beverage Tourism 2019’.