“Food Tourism for People and Planet: Innovate, Empower and Preserve” was the theme of the meeting of national and international experts in Nara for the 7th UNWTO Forum on Food Tourism
Organized by UNWTO and the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), the Forum provides a platform to advance the contribution of gastronomy tourism to empower women and youth, and to support sustainability. This edition was attended by more than 450 delegates from 30 countries along with more than 1,000 online participants from 125 countries during the two days of the event.
Opening the Forum, UNWTO Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “This year’s Forum represents a unique opportunity for experts to share their best practices and enhance the role of gastronomy tourism in talent, sustainability, innovation and social inclusion, and highlight its importance for regional and rural development”.
Joxe Mari Aizega, general director of the Basque Culinary Center, adds: “Gastronomy faces many challenges, but we also have many opportunities. It is a diverse and broad sector, a value chain that includes production, hospitality, tourism and restaurants. It also integrates cultural, social and economic dimensions. This forum addressed the complexity of the gastronomy tourism sector, and also reflected its enormous potential”.
Nara Prefectural Governor Shogo Arai said: “I believe that what we discuss here is very important for the sustainable development of global and regional societies. I am inspired by the exchanges of new ideas and views that the Forum provided.” .
Youth tourism and gender empowerment
To ensure that gastronomy tourism can serve as a lever to promote the empowerment of women and youth, participants highlighted the need to provide better working conditions and commitment to attract and retain talent. In parallel, the Forum also focused on the best ways to design gastronomic tourism strategies and practices that ensure the sustainable use of resources, the promotion of local products and knowledge, and responsible consumption.
Special emphasis was placed on the need to reduce food waste as a means of supporting a more sustainable global food system. On this occasion, UNWTO launched the public consultation for the Global Roadmap on reducing food waste in tourism, developed under the One Planet Sustainable Tourism Program, to enable coherent action and improve circularity.
Companies are committed to ethical tourism
Nara also hosted the 3rd UNWTO Global Gastronomy Startup Contest organized by UNWTO and BCC. Here, six talented entrepreneurs shared solutions to the challenges posed by the Sustainable Development Goals. Byfood from Japan was selected as the winner of a contest in which Local Food (Bulgaria), 2492IOneArmenia (Armenia), Tenemos Filo (Colombia), Beyondnext (Republic of Korea) and Soplaya (Italy) also shared their innovative proposals.
Within this framework, nine companies from Japan signed the Private Sector Commitment to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism in the presence of the UNWTO Secretary General, the Deputy Commissioner of the Japan Tourism Agency, the Head of the Regional Support Office of UNWTO for Asia and the Pacific and the Governor of the Government of Nara Prefecture.
Forum 2023 will take place in Donostia-San Sebastián, in the Basque Country, Spain. The farewell dinner offered by Basquetour and the Department of Tourism, Commerce and Consumption of the Basque Government brought Basque gastronomy to Nara at the hands of Basque chefs Diego Guerrero (member of the board of the Basque Culinary Center and DSTAgE Concept restaurant), Álvaro Garrido (Mina Restaurant), and Gorka Txapartegi (Alameda Restaurant).