Foodies flocking to Vail for big events
If you are what you eat, what would you be if you ate the Vail Valley?From the Taste of Vail to Beaver Creeks Bon Appetit Culinary & Wine Focus and Wine & Spirits Series even to the resorts cookie competition and cookie kids fest the valley is earning a new reputation as not only a skiers paradise but now as a foodies tasting palette. Whatever you call it foodie tourism, cuisine culture, cuisine crawling more and more people plan their vacation and trips around food. A 2007 study released by the Travel Industry Association reported that 27 million Americans have made culinary activities a part of their travels within the last three years. Of the 160 million U.S. residents who travel for leisure, about one in six have recently taken a food tour, enrolled in a cooking class, toured a winery or otherwise participated in culinary activities as part of a vacation, according to the study. New York State is one of the most popular destinations for food travel, outdone only by California and Florida, according to the study. This movement is also popular across the pond. In a recent survey of tourist perceptions on the British food industry, two-thirds of Britons said that food and drink influenced their holiday travel choices. This presents the Vail Valley with a wonderful opportunity. Foodie tourism overlaps with the destinations main focus of creating a memorable experience for all those who visit. We define ourselves by how we eat people connect through food and it creates an emotional experience. The same feeling created on mountain on a perfect blue-sky powder day can be replicated in town in a fine eatery or bistro. In its 18th year, the Taste of Vail is expected to attract upwards of 5,000 people this year. The event allows people to taste the Vail Valley lifestyle which showcases Vails restaurants and village ambience. Like Beaver Creeks Bon Appetit festival, Wine Spectator has been supporting the Taste of Vail for many years. Other national sponsors include Stella Artois, Subaru, American Express and Belvedere Vodka, among others including the wine and champagne sponsors. The worlds eye is upon us when the World Cup comes to town every year, and there are other events and activities that have nothing to do with sports that also receive international acclaim. While it may be too soon to tell if foodie tourism is the travel trend du jour or here to stay, it is a fact that there will always be an audience that bases its travel decisions based on a destinations culinary terrain. The Partnership commends all our partners striving for culinary perfection in addition to partners like the Beaver Creek Resort Company, already slaving over the stove to establish and maintain the Vail Valleys reputation as a culinary destination. Michael Kurz is president and chief executive officer of the Vail Valley Partnership.