Karolin Troubetzkoy, Executive Director of Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain resorts in St. Lucia, observed that tourists increasingly rank food as a primary motivator in their travel decisions and a point of high satisfaction in their travel experience.
“Visitors to the Caribbean are looking for unique culinary experiences and locally sourced products. Increasingly, our culinary offerings are driving destination traffic alongside established factors such as accommodation and scenery,” said Troubetzkoy, who also serves as President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA).
Troubetzkoy sees the region’s chefs as “powerful change agents” at a time when “food is a growing driver in improving the quality of life, stimulating and connecting economies and celebrating culture.”
According to the CHTA president, whose two properties are among the region’s most prominent high-end resorts, “culinary offerings from the region present the Caribbean, its people, and the tourism industry with tremendous untapped opportunity to celebrate and develop the Caribbean culinary brand and its diversity. We do not as yet get the recognition for our culinary excellence that the region deserves.”
Setting up a Caribbean Culinary Council under the management of the CHTA, harnesses the “tremendous growth in the number and quality of chefs emerging from the region.”
The Council will be charged to build on the success of the “Taste of the Caribbean” culinary showcase organised by CHTA which is being held in Miami this week and “further the development of regional culinary professionals, encourage the use of regionally sourced products, and broaden public awareness and support for Caribbean culinary offerings.”
Speaking at Taste of the Caribbean, Troubetzkoy stated that the pursuit of unique and memorable eating experiences has never been more important in global tourism than it is today. “The anticipation of a stellar food experience is one of the key motivators in deciding where to go,” she stated, adding that “food and drink are now considered a vital component of the tourism experience and rank in importance right next to climate, accommodation and scenery.”
Addressing the chefs in attendance at the Miami event, Troubetzkoy noted that consumer travel rating sites, social media, and visitor exit surveys provide evidence of the emphasis given to culinary experiences.
“This is why we cannot underscore enough the important role you all play in our tourism industry. It is you who create exciting sensory experiences and memories. But even more so, you generate passion and desire. As our visitors showcase your culinary creations in pictures on their social media and as they describe them in their reviews and testimonials you play an important part in luring these visitors back to our shores and on top of this, entice new visitors to come visit also. You are not only culinary professionals, you are our region’s culinary ambassadors.”