It is said that the way to a man's heart
is through his stomach. That may be true for travelers, too.
A new study
indicates that during the past three years, about 27 million U.S.
travelers, specifically sought culinary and wine-related activities
conducted by the Travel Industry Association in partnership with
Gourmet magazine and the International Culinary Tourism
Association, found culinary travelers generally are "younger, more
affluent and better educated than nonculinary travelers" and
typically seek "unique experiences" when traveling.
The top five
domestic destinations for food-related travel, according to the
study, were California, Florida, New York, Texas and North
On average, food
travelers spent $1,194 per trip, according to the study, with about
$425 of their travel budget going toward food-related
Along with good
food, culinary travelers like good wine. Wine travelers spent about
$973 per trip. An average of $219 was spent on wine-related
The top five
destinations for wine-related travel were California, New York,
North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
demonstrates that a sizable proportion of the U.S. leisure market
does indeed make travel decisions based on a desire for wine and
culinary experiences," said Laura Mandala, the TIA's vice president
of research. "In fact, it confirms that wine and culinary
experiences are a driver of destination choice."
The study was
based on interviews with 2,364 U.S. leisure travelers.
findings didn't come as a surprise to Manfred Timmel, general
manager of the Hotel Andalucia, a 97-room property in Santa
Like other hotels
in the city, a key attraction is the fact that it is about a
30-minute drive from the 100 wineries and 24,000 acres of vineyards
in Santa Barbara's wine region.
Timmel said that
during the week, business travelers make up the bulk of the hotel's
clientele, but that on the weekends, 70% of guests are headed for
"All day long on
Saturdays, you see guests coming back with cases of wine," said
Michael Amadour, the hotel's food and beverage manager.
wine region and its famed pinot noir got a significant boost from
the 2004 film "Sideways," a comedy-drama that received several
Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.
triggered enormous interest in the Santa Barbara wine region,"
Timmel said. "In fact, a lot of the wineries sold out of the pinot
noirs because of that movie," Amadour said.
The movie, which
lives on in DVD, continues to whet interest in wine country. The
hotel continues to develop tours and events to help guests drink it
nights we have a dinner, and we invite winemakers to come in and
mingle with our customers and talk about their wines," Timmel
working with local wineries, also has developed a package that
enables guests to custom blend their own wine and even design the
label on the bottle.
referred to as Bushel to Bottle, is in the works and takes the
"You pick the
grapes during harvest season and stomp the grapes. During the year,
the winery will bottle it and send it to you with your label on
it," Amadour said.
Timmel said such
packages are new ways to forge business partnerships between
wineries and hotels.
The packages also
attract guests who are interested in new experiences.
president and CEO of the International Culinary Tourism
"It's the perfect
tool for economic and community development because visitors fly,
buy and try new food and drink and look for it when they return
home, helping boost value-added food and drink exports," Wolf
should be looking for ways to promote its unique food and drink
To contact reporter Michael Milligan, send e-mail to [email protected].