8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism, San Sebastian
The 8th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism was celebrated last October in San Sebastian (Spain) and counted on the important presence of Africa. Under the theme “Gastronomy Tourism: Back to the Roots”, the Forum presented an opportunity to deepen the focus on African gastronomy and its links to agriculture and cultural heritage
With gastronomy tourism as one of the pillars of the UNWTO Agenda for Africa, the Forum explored the sector's potential as a source of inclusive growth across the region. In a special address, the First Lady of Zimbabwe, HE Auxillia C. Mnangagwa, a committed promoter of African gastronomy, emphasized the vital role that gastronomy tourism can play as an effective tool for development. She highlighted Zimbabwe's ‘Traditional Cookout Programme’, featuring traditional cooking competitions at regional level to encourage the consumption of traditional foods, in a way to ensure a healthy living. The initiative's success is evident in its impact on local communities, fostering creativity, disseminating cultural knowledge, promoting inclusivity, and recognizing women's significance in cultural heritage transmission. This transformative model seeks to extend its influence throughout Africa, celebrating diverse cultures and promoting culinary tourism.
In the framework of this annual event, Chef Fatmata Binta, born in Sierra Leone and based in Ghana, was designated UNWTO Ambassador for Responsible Tourism in recognition of her unwavering contribution to the development of tourism and gastronomy as pillars of a more sustainable future for African communities.
The Forum also put the spotlight on gastronomy tourism's role in the preservation of local territories and the promotion of sustainable practices. A high-level panel of tourism ministers from Bulgaria, Puerto Rico and Zimbabwe focused on policies that strengthen agriculture, gastronomy and tourism.
On this occasion, a side-event, the “Culinary Plaza”, was organized for the Forum’s participants but also open to local citizens. Culinary specialties from destinations such as Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Porto in Portugal and Botswana were showcased in a festive atmosphere, allowing attendees to delve into the culinary culture of these corners of the world and taste their cuisine in a unique atmosphere.
Videos, presentations and photos are available on the Forum’s website: https://www.unwto.org/8-unwto-world-forum-gastronomy-tourism