Forum on Food Tourism: Developing Your Taste of Place

September 12, 2016

Great food and great dining experiences have become an art, a source of entertainment and a destination.

The growth of local food movements and the entrepreneurial drive of chefs and hospitality workers are both building and tapping into this trend. In response, tourism associations, economic development agencies and municipal governments are moving to refocus some of their efforts onto the growing sector of independent restaurants, farmers’ markets and food tours.

“Regardless of the reason why someone comes to visit Brampton — whether on business, visiting friends and family or for leisure — they typically have to eat three times a day,” says Rebecca Mackenzie, Executive Director of the Culinary Tourism Alliance. “It is important to identify those establishments that will ensure a premium visitor experience. That encourages visitors to linger longer, spend more money in the community and have a greater positive impact on the local economy.”

The Culinary Tourism Alliance is working with the City of Brampton Economic Development Office to lay the foundation for a strong food tourism sector in the city. The Forum on Food Tourism is pulling together key stakeholders to develop an authentic “Taste of Place” in the city. Food tourism stakeholders include restaurants, hotels, festivals and events, attractions, beverage producers, culinary schools, farmers’ markets, growers and producers, retailers and tours.

The day-long session will include a look at the current food scene in Brampton and its readiness to move actively into food tourism. Forum leaders will engage stakeholders and discuss the impact of the millennial generation and their passion for culinary experiences. Also on the agenda is a moderated panel discussion with a cross-section of industry insiders and a lunchtime keynote address from local celebrity chef Jason Rosso. The day will be capped with a networking session.

“You want a destination that has a unique story, whether it’s a working partnership between local farmers and local restaurants or a critical mass of unique multicultural and multiethnic dining experiences,” says Rebecca. “We want to dig deep to uncover those stories in Brampton, then thread those experiences together so that we can better tell visitors how they can fully enjoy their visit.”

While it is important for Brampton to capitalize on its existing assets, key for the city is to encourage more festivals and events built around a culinary experience. Clearly defining that “Taste of Place” for Brampton is the first step.

“We know Brampton has a lot to offer in terms of culinary experience, from restaurants to pick-your-own farms,” says Councillor Jeff Bowman, Chair of the City’s Economic Development Committee. “We are an incredibly diverse community with restaurants serving delicious food from almost every culture.

People don’t realize the extent of what we have here, and this Forum is a significant step towards getting the message out.”

Full details of the Forum on Food Tourism, which is open to Brampton businesses interested and involved in the food tourism sector, are below:

Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Time: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Location: Alderlea, 40 Elizabeth Street South, Brampton ON, L6Y 1R1
Cost:Free (Lunch provided)

About the Culinary Tourism Alliance:

As the Centre for culinary tourism excellence, the Culinary Tourism Alliance (CTA) has the essential skills and experience required to successfully assist destinations with their food tourism development, marketing initiatives, and economic growth. The CTA is an industry leader and the most accomplished food tourism consultant nation-wide, providing valuable insight that is internationally recognized and highly regarded.
Our extensive knowledge of food tourism industry trends and tourist profiles, as well as an intimate understanding of the opportunities and challenges around tourism development both nationally and internationally allows the CTA to develop sustainable tourism products and world-class destinations. More specifically, our experience includes creating in-depth and interactive databases of product inventory, stakeholder engagement, conducting industry leading research and applying these components to develop insightful strategies, recommendations, tourism and experience (product) development and action plans.

About Rebecca Mackenzie:

Rebecca is passionate about agriculture, tourism, and culture. She is lucky in her role as Executive Director for the Culinary Tourism Alliance as it enables her to work with stakeholders from a variety of sectors across the province, the country and the globe, supporting the development of local economies through building new business partnerships and community driven experiences that showcase “taste of place”.

Over her tourism development career, Rebecca has been instrumental in developing tourism products including Prince Edward County’s award winning Taste Trail and Arts Trail, the Culinary Tourism Alliance’s Feast On™ designation program, and her own sports tourism business – the Terroir Run. Born and raised in Toronto, Rebecca spent her summers in rural Ontario. In her grade 12 year of high school, Rebecca sailed with Class Afloat on a 156-foot tall ship to 20 countries in Europe and Africa – an experience that rooted her passion for travel and adventure.

Follow her adventures on Twitter and Instagram @CanadaCulinary.