USTOA Recognizes and Reacts to Culinary Tourism

Swain Tours
On Swain Tours’ Nothing But Australia itinerary, clients visit a winemakers’ laboratory and try their hand at blending their own wine.

By traveling through new cities and places, your clients get a taste for cultures and histories they’ve not previously encountered. Culinary tours take that “taste” to a whole new level, often taking travelers into locally renowned markets and on exclusive factory tours and tastings.

According to an annual survey of active United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA) members, 53 percent of respondents planned to offer new experiential travel programs this year, with culinary themed tours sitting at the top of the list.

“Travelers tend to be more adventurous when exploring the world and this includes their taste buds. Many would rather take part in native culinary traditions than eat the same food they can get at home,” says Terry Dale, USTOA president. “Luckily for travelers, USTOA members recognize the importance of food in travel and celebrate authentic culinary experiences around the globe.”

Here, we present just an appetizer-sized portion of the abundant culinary tour opportunities offered by USTOA members.

During Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s 13-day Splendors of Italy 2013 cruise from Venice to Rome, travelers will have the opportunity to experience a pasta-making workshop in Bologna, a wine-tasting lunch at Castello Verrazzano, an Italian dessert-making demonstration and tasting, an olive oil and wine tasting, and a special wine and food pairing dinner.

Available on multiple departure dates between April and November 2013, prices start at $5,499 pp with savings up to $1,200 per couple if booked by Oct. 31, 2012.

With bun cha and pho in the north; bun bo, banh khoai and other Nguyen Dynasty delicacies in the center; and the spicy French-infused flavors of the south, travelers on Travel Indochina’s Vietnam Culinary Discovery will learn about the people and traditions of Vietnam from the vantage point of the kitchen. In addition to three cooking classes, one of which is a full day experience at the Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An, guests will visit Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Saigon and the Mekong Delta. This 12-day journey is available continuously through March 2014 with prices from $2,145 pp.

Lion World Tours’ 12-day Culinary Safari, offered on several departure dates in 2012 and 2013, provides travelers the opportunity to explore the stunning views, local culture, and exquisite cuisine of South Africa. Foodies will enjoy cooking with game in the kitchens of the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa in Cape Town, using uniquely South African ingredients at Le Quartier Francais in the heart of the Cape Winelands, and preparing potjiekos, a stew prepared outdoors over an open fire. Prices start at $6,499.

On Swain Tours’ 12-night Nothing But Australia itinerary, guests have the opportunity to eat breakfast with kangaroos, participate in a hands-on tutorial on the art and science of blending grape varietals in a winemaker’s laboratory, and cruise like a local on Sydney Harbour before eating an Australian barbecue lunch served with regional wines and beers. Throughout the journey, travelers will cross the International Date Line, explore coastal and rainforest scenery, and tour the Sydney Opera House. Rates start from $11,845, and must be booked by Nov. 30.

For more information, call (212) 599-6599 or visit