Last week the Secretary for Business and Competitiveness, Joan Aregio, attended the #SomGastronomia Tour, which took place in Milan. He was accompanied by the director of the Catalan Tourist Board (CTB), Xavier Espasa, the director of the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board, Ramon Ramos, and the delegate of the Catalan Government in Italy, Luca Bellizzi.
As part of the initiatives promoting the Year of Gastronomy and Wine Tourism, the #SomGastronomia Tour consisted of a presentation of Catalonia's wine and food to around 60 Italian media outlets. The event has been organised by the Catalan Tourist Board, with the collaboration of the Costa Brava Girona Tourist Board and the cuisine group ‘Cuina de l’Empordanet’.
The event began with a ‘stroll’ around a reproduction of a Catalan food market, where those attending found out about local products of the Costa Brava and Catalonia, and the similarities and differences in the way they are cooked in Italy. Afterwards, a representative of the cuisine group ‘Cuina de l’Empordanet’ conducted a cookery workshop where participants learned how to prepare some Catalan recipes.
The second part of the event took place in a kitchen, where a chef from the group ‘Cuina de l’Empordanet’ put on a cooking demonstration, which also featured Marco Bolasco, a renowned Italian journalist specialising in gastronomy.
Finally, the participants moved on to a presentation of Catalonia's wines and food products. The event ended with a tasting of recipes prepared by ‘Cuina de l’Empordanet’.
#SomGastronomia Tour in Milan is the second of six such events scheduled for this year, which aim to promote Catalan wine and gastronomy tourism in the markets of France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Sweden and Italy. All are organised by the Catalan Tourist Board, with the collaboration of different provincial Tourist Boards, as each focuses on the cuisine of a particular region of Catalonia. Each event involves a cuisine group representing the area, as they are the best ambassadors for the use of local products and the recipes of Catalan cuisine.
The first leg of the #SomGastronomia Tour took place in Stockholm (Sweden) on 11 April, featured the cuisine group ‘Terra i Taula’, and was organised in collaboration with the Tarragona Tourist Board. The group ‘Osona Cuina’, in collaboration with Barcelona Province Tourist Board, takes its turn in Madrid (Spain) on 1 June. On 7 June, Berlin (Germany) will host the expertise of the goup ‘Barceloneta Cuina’, in collaboration with Turisme de Barcelona. The final event will take place in Bordeaux (France), with the group ‘Noguera Cuina’ in collaboration with the Lleida Tourist Board. A #SomGastronomia Tour will also take place on 7 November, at the World Travel Market dinner in London (United Kingdom).
2016: Year of Gastronomy and Wine Tourism
This year, Catalonia has received the distinction of ‘European Region of Gastronomy 2016’. As part of this celebration, the Catalan Tourist Board has declared 2016 to be the Year of Gastronomy and Wine Tourism, and for this reason, Catalonia's wine and culinary heritage plays a crucial role in the organisation's promotional events.
The Year of Gastronomy and Wine Tourism takes place in order to promote Catalonia's rich wine and culinary heritage from three standpoints: to highlight gastronomy as a distinguishing feature of Catalonia; to position Catalonia as a leading wine and gastronomy destination in international markets; and to raise awareness among the Catalan community of the vast variety and quality of the wine and gastronomy tourism in Catalonia.
The CTB organised over 150 activities with a budget of over two million euros, the largest yet for a themed year.
The priority markets are: France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain; on a secondary level: Benelux, Scandinavia, Italy and the USA; and finally, on a third level: South East Asia, South America, China and Russia.
Gastronomy and wine tourism are two of the key products for achieving some of the goals set out in the Strategic Plan for Tourism in Catalonia. They are crossover products which are available almost all over Catalonia. Thus, they help to attract tourists to all the regions, and thereby help to redistribute GDP from tourism. Furthermore, as this type of tourism takes place throughout the year, it contributes to the deseasonalization of tourism and the revenue that it generates. Finally, it is a product which attracts high-quality tourism with a generally high level of spending.