First Gastronomy UN Tourism Forum for Asia & Pacific

Asia and the Pacific’s growing status as a gastronomy tourism destination has been celebrated as key stakeholders look to a more inclusive and sustainable future.

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By Mrinal
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The first UN Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific

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The first UN Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific is built on the success of the global event to serve as a platform for public and private sector leaders to address the main challenges and opportunities in this fast-emerging part of global tourism. As with the World Forum, the event was co-organised by UN Tourism and the Basque Culinary Centre (BCC) and hosted by the Department of Tourism of the Philippines.

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The event was hosted by the Department of Tourism of the Philippines

Addressing an opening Ministerial Dialogue, Christina Garcia Frasco, secretary of the Department of Tourism of the Philippines, joined Martini M. Paham, deputy minister for Resources and Institutions of the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia, Jakkaphon Tangsutthitham, vice minister of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of Thailand, Mitsuaki Hoshino, vice-commissioner of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism for the Japan Tourism Agency and Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (China).  The Ministers made the case for policies and strategies that enhance the benefits of gastronomy tourism and the importance of connecting tourism with other sectors namely agriculture, culture and rural development.

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Discussions were held on ways to improve gastronomy tourism

Better Policies For Inclusive Future

Food is at the heart of every tourist experience, and gastronomy tourism delivers many social and economic benefits. Reflecting the strong commitment of its Member States to harnessing the economic and social benefits of gastronomy tourism, UN Tourism put the focus on policy frameworks and government action.

UN Says

UN Tourism secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “Food is at the heart of every tourist experience, and gastronomy tourism delivers many social and economic benefits. For it to deliver on its potential, we need to create well-defined gastronomy tourism policies and strategies that bring together all stakeholders with a common vision and mission, as exemplified by this first regional Forum.”

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Zurab Pololikashvili, secretary-general, UN Tourism at the event 

Call to Action

The event concluded with the Cebu Call to Action on Gastronomy Tourism, calling for both public and private sector leaders to develop comprehensive strategies at all levels to integrate gastronomy tourism into policy and practice. It urges the creation of governance mechanisms uniting stakeholders under a shared vision, fostering cooperation across sectors such as agriculture and culture, and supporting small businesses to enhance their market position. 

Emphasis was placed on empowering local communities through training and financing, promoting unique culinary experiences, and advocating for sustainable practices that protect local cultures and the environment.

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The event also stressed on empowering local communities

Gastronomy Tourism

In line with UN Tourism’s focus on inclusive rural development, inclusion and sustainability, the Forum brought together academic, business leaders, community representatives and top chefs to explore some of the most pressing issues in the field of gastronomy tourism.

Emphasis was placed on ensuring the sector is managed in harmony with and empowers host communities and local traditions, including through the use of local products, greater linkages with agriculture and the creative industries and merging heritage with new trends. Among the “Chefs Leading Change” the Forum brought together three UN Tourism Ambassadors for Sustainable Tourism: Chef Pilar Rodriguez (Chile), Chef Rudolf Stefan (Croatia) and Chef Margarita Fores (Philippines).

On the occasion, UN Tourism nominated Chef Vicky Cheng (Hong Kong, China) as its most recent UN Tourism Ambassador.

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