On the 17th of May 2017 in the Council hall of the Civic chamber of the Russian Federation a round table on the theme «Gastronomy tourism as factor of development of inbound and domestic tourism in Russia» was held. The meeting was opened by Sutormina E., a Chairman of the Commission on development of public diplomacy and support of compatriots abroad.
For the first time the discussion table managed to gather the heads of the largest and reputable professional associations in the hospitality industry, including the President of the Russian National Culinary Association Beliaev V., the President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia Bukharov I., the President of the National Guild of chefs of Russia Filin A., as well as the President of the Union of winegrowers and winemakers of Russia Popovich L., representatives of six Universities, managers of large tourism companies, businessmen and journalists from Moscow and Russian regions.
The President of the ICWAG Gelibterman L. made a report on the international project «Russian gastronomy weeks» as an engine of tourism promotion in Russian regions. In his speech he briefed the audience with positive results of Russian gastronomy weeks held in 2015 and 2016, told about the preparation of the similar event of 2017 in Cyprus in the period from 13 to 17 November 2017, and also announced the holding of Russian gastronomy weeks in 2018 in Japan and Greece.
Bukharov I., the acting President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia, introduced the concept of the national award in the field of gastronomy tourism, initiated by the Federation. The prestigious award provides for such nominations as «Best manufacturer of regional food (beverage)», «Best gastronomic guide to the regions», «Best thematic museum» and several others. The head of the Federation accentuated that the establishment of the award has already been supported by the National culinary Association of Russia, the National Guild of chefs of Russia, the Union of winegrowers and winemakers of Russia, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, a number of specialized Universities, travel companies, media, the expert community in Moscow and Russian regions, as well as the Ministry of industry and trade, Ministry of agriculture, the Federal tourism Agency and several other authorities.
In his speech, Beliaev V., the President of the Russian National Culinary Association, spoke about the association activities, including its membership in WACS (World Association of Culinary Societies) since 1993. He also provided the participants with information about worldwide Congress WACS-2020, which will be held in St. Petersburg in 2020. Such a significant event will gather more than 5 000 delegates among the famous chefs and restaurant business professionals throughout the world to the Northern capital.
Summarizing the presented reports, the Chairman of the session Sutormina E. has agreed that the theme of gastronomy tourism is interesting and important. She pointed out that «enogastronomy is a feature that might mobilize many people to come to Russia and taste our cuisine».
The speakers’ speeches were followed by lively discussion and comments of the round table participants. For instance, the Vice-President of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia Bakanov V. said that the fundamental basis of the development of Russian gastronomy tourism is the creation of regional food and beverage with the protected geographical indication, meeting the most stringent requirements to this category. To promote inbound tourism in the Russian regions, local producers must have the ability to create unique products of certain location that will attract tourists from all over the world.
Filin A., the President of the National Guild of chefs of Russia, expressed the confidence that the Russian chefs are ready to work at the highest level and to popularize Russian cuisine within the country and abroad.
Popovich L., the President of the Union of winegrowers and winemakers of Russia, noticed that the agricultural and, in particular, the wine industry needs to have a well-developed regulatory framework for making the regional products. Competent approach to the process of «localization» of food and beverage will not only increase the tourists’ awareness when visiting Russia, about the peculiarities of local cuisine, but also will allow the regional producers to develop their business outside the country.
Deputy CEO of the TUI Sirchenko A. drew attention to the importance of cooperation between tour operators, organizers of gastronomic tourism and regional municipal authorities. The increasing of the attractiveness of Russia and its regions for tourism involves the extension of tourist flows, which brings substantial dividends, not only for tourism sector, but in related sectors of the economy also.
Director General of the Intourist Marmer L. agreed with his business colleague about the prospects for the development of gastronomy tourism, as an event-related one, that is extremely popular in modern society. He added that the elaboration of festival sites and the food base has the paramount value.
General Director of the Volga-tour (Yaroslavl) Skorokhodovа Y., on behalf of the regional tourist industry, expressed the full support of the stated initiatives and reiterated the importance of the gastronomy tourism development, as well as the strategic direction for many regions of Russia.
Thanks to the support of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and personally of Sutormina E., a serious conversation among professionals from different fields of activity was held. Realizing the importance of the assigned tasks, the participants reached a consensus, that well-coordinated work is necessary to achieve the global objectives, and that they are ready for it.