Food tourism is all about the dining experience—enjoying local brews and fresh ingredients. While these elements are important when cooking up an authentic dining experience, food tourists are not to be confused with those keen on picking strawberries or milking cows. Food tourism encourages experiences through which tourists learn more about their food and, subsequently, the area’s culture. Agritourism, a subset of rural tourism, is not interchangeable with food tourism, as it focuses on exploring an area’s agricultural offerings. This is an activity most commonly left to locals, and thus, is much more limited in economic benefit.
“We get great food from agriculture; farming is critical to things like restaurants and food experiences,” says Erik Wolf, executive director of the World Food Travel Association. “Agriculture itself is its own industry. It is the growing and harvesting of food. Food tourism is more about the experience of food and drink culture.”