One must first ask what it is that makes a city or country a “food destination.” The answer is, a variety of elements. It needs not only a diverse mix of restaurants with an inviting atmosphere and excellent service, but investment and support in city planning, community development, tourism and marketing.
One of the most important factors however, is the creation of symbiotic relationships between restaurants and neighbourhoods with small businesses supporting each other. It’s about making the entire area the destination rather than an individual restaurant – if everyone is part of a bigger place and destination, there is more opportunity for success. It is also important to have a unique representation of food and beverage – something different to what visitors can get in their own hometown. I believe Cyprus has this potential.
Cyprus’ social life centres around food with the Mediterranean diet, world renowned. But as a crossroad of cultures from the Mediterranean, Middle East, Europe with links to the Far East, we have a diverse range of kitchens which can produce an array of exotic dishes.
Tourists to Cyprus still primarily come for beach tourism which, depending on external political factors could easily change. It is also a seasonal type of tourism, so we need to diversify the product and include more cultural tourism based components where food and drink are key contenders. This will of course also increase the area’s economy – the potential to be unlocked is huge!
A strengthened food tourism sector opens more local job opportunities and gives other organisations an added opportunity to participate in revenue generation. The spinoff benefits not only restaurant and food/spirit manufacturers, but builds a greater awarenesss of food products with greater export benefits for local producers. Various studies have shown that eating local food has a 3:1 impact on the local economy with wine consumption a 12:1 impact. Furthermore, the average culinary tourist spends double that of a generic tourist, and 40% more on accommodation. Need one say more?
The trends currently driving food tourism include authentic travel, health and sustainability, inconspicuous consumption and globalism. Can Cyprus possibly afford not to look forwards?
The Cyprus International Food Festival (#CIFF) is striving to present the crossroad of cultures and with the ideal backdrop of the Molos Area Boardwalk, in Limassol, provide an opportunity to taste differing cuisines in the form of street food, while sampling both local and international wineries and breweries. In addition to over 35 exhibitors, CIFF has a special area dedicated for children under 12 to take part in cooking classes under the watchful eyes of professionals. International chefs from South Africa, Mozambique, Ghana, Senegal, Guinea have all applied to participate as well as from Italy, Hungary, India, China and Lebanon. They will all be demonstrating unique dishes and talking about their country’s food culture!
The Cyprus International Food Festival is collaborating with the Limassol Tourism Company and are proud to have the festival under the auspices of the Interior Minister, Mr Constantinos Petrides who will officially open it on 23 September.
More information: www.cyprusinternationalfoodfestival.com
23 and 24 September 2017
4pm – 10pm