The 6th UNWTO World Gastronomy Forum is currently ongoing in Bruges in the Flemish Region of Belgium.
In his opening address, UNWTO Secretary General, Zurab Pololikashvili paid glowing tribute to the region for being a true culinary hotspot.
“This is not only a city that celebrates its heritage, it is also a city of innovation and entrepreneurship. And it is a city committed to fully realising tourism’s benefits for the wellbeing of residents and local businesses, and fully in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. In short, it is the perfect location to host the sixth edition of the UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism,” he stated.
This year, the forum focuses on the role of Gastronomy Tourism in Rural and Regional Development as work is being done to ensure that the benefits the sector offers are enjoyed by all.
Pololikashvili postulated: “We believe gastronomy tourism can be an opportunity for rural communities, it connects them with visitors through markets, festivals, stories, recipes and memories. It supports small, local food producers and creates a sense of place for both host communities and visitors.”
Over the next two days, participants will learn from those people and places that are leading the way in making gastronomy tourism a driver of inclusive growth and opportunity.
“We will focus on policies for rural development, innovation, entrepreneurship and how to enhance the tourism value chain,” the Secretary General said, adding that “I am particularly pleased that for the first time in this Forum we will host a special session on African Gastronomy.”