Who doesn’t like food? Wait that is a pretty loaded question if you look at it from different angles. Regardless, food is sustenance. It provides nourishment to our bodies and ensures that the various building blocks that make up our bodies synergies are properly maintained.
Food tourism is also known as culinary tourism and can be more or less defined as travelling from your regular environment and visiting a different region for the purpose of experiencing the food of that particular country, region or area.
Culinary tourism is premised on the fact that cuisine is a strong expression of place culture. On the global front, countries like France, Italy, China, Thailand and India bank on local cuisines as part of their core hospitality product. As such Kenya would also do well to hone in this particular phenomenon that has taken root within the country though not as formidably as other nations worldwide.
‘We have a great opportunity to think globally while acting locally’ as put forth by a renowned media group. Kenya is abundant with an extraordinary local cuisine. At the coast most local restaurants provide foods such as pilau or biriani which are popular with both the locals as well as the tourists who’s initial plan was to engage in beach tourism but end up dipping their toe in the food tourism pond. Wine tasting is also part of our food tourism draw since we are not primarily known as a wine making country. The brand Leleshwa wines provides a wonderful tour of their vineyard in Naivasha and provides you with a chance to do the wine tasting towards the end of your tour. Towards the highlands we have the Kalenjin mursik which can be culturally linked to being the reason as to why they are talented runners.
This line of tourism does not only focus on our international visitors but also the domestic ones since they are culinary tourists in their own right by virtue of them indulging in local eateries. One such restaurant that is popular for its ethnic cultural evenings is the Carnivore which has created events and themed nights which involve traditional foods and entertainment.
Focus on food tourism allows our country to market ourselves as a truly unique destination and appeals to travelers who would like to patronize and to feel part of their destinations through its flavor.It would also go a long way in ensuring that the rural communities feel like they are part of the tourism community and also that they can properly benefit from it as well to enable sustainable development.