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The Foodie Holiday Tops Travel Menus

by Destinate News on 24.11.2015

From labelling themselves #foodnerds to asking for food itineraries, a new breed of high-spending travellers are eating (and sipping) their way through the world.

Recently returned from London, where she represented Stellenbosch at the World Travel Market, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold (owner of Destinate) says food is the lens through which travellers are experiencing their destinations; “Food unlocks the cultural narrative and lets people connect with that story through the senses. We are promoting Stellenbosch as a food experience and travellers often see the whole food process, from driving past the olive trees on their way into the farm, to witnessing the workings and inhaling the aromas of the press and then soaking up warm bread with the final product.”

Food travellers are looking to do more than just eat at a nice restaurant. They want to understand food, how it is grown and how local people like to eat it. They want to meet the chef, see the kitchen, get involved in the cooking and learn how to make a dish from scratch.

Food and wine came third in popularity with visitors polled by Cape Town Tourism in their 2014 Visitor Survey Study and with 45% of our region’s visitors staying for eight or more nights, foodies have the time to explore the Cape’s significant culinary adventure in an experiential way.

Destinate surveyed more than 500 visitors in March 2015 as part of the development of the first national wine tourism strategy.  The research done revealed that most visitors to wine farms were between the ages of 25-34 with the majority rating the wine tourism experience as excellent and indicating that they are highly likely to take a holiday around wine tourism activities again.

With the average spend per visit to a wine farm exceeding R500, it is well worth investing in wine tourism in South Africa.

The foodie trend is supported by a recent trend bulletin from global travel temperature tracker, Skift, indicating that the foodie traveller is likely to spend about 18-20% more cash in destination across every age group and country of origin. In the same article, Bob Williams, a marketing professor at Susquehanna University who studies food tourism, says that one in two Millenials brands themselves a foodie.
Millenials are loosely grouped as those born after the mid-1980’s and whilst older travellers have always been food travellers, the millennials have been behind the shift to food as an engaged experience.

This is good news for destinations like South Africa and its wine regions as well as food and wine businesses wanting some airtime. Says Du Toit-Helmbold; “These are travellers who want to ‘share’ every step of the way, the more interesting, visually arresting and novel, the better. Businesses can reap the benefits of these word-of-mouth opportunities by positioning towards this sort of traveller. This means offering free wireless, visible social media channels and authentic, interesting experiences that tell stories, touch emotions and educate.”

Cape Town Tourism’s survey found that 56% of travellers shared on Facebook, 31% on Instagram and 13% on Tripadvisor. “Today’s traveller makes plans off the back of their peer’s experiences, in Millenial terms it’s all about #FOMO (fear of missing out). If they see it and it looks interesting, they’ll likely add it to their bucket list.”

With Millennials travelling—on average 4.2 times a year more than the 2.9 to 3.2 times per year of older generations (HVS Global Hospitality Services) the bucket list may just be ticked off pretty soon. The good news is that the Millenial is prepared to spend – not on souvenirs, but on adventures and experiences.


Stellenbosch focused on experiential travel, on the food and wine experience in particular, at World Travel Market this year.

Travel trade and media from London and those attending WTM, attended a hugely successful Stellenbosch and Cape Town Tourism event hosted at the German Gymnasium restaurant. Wines by Jordan Wine Estate were paired with a selection of dishes from German Gymnasium menu and guests were treated to a showcase of Cape Town’s up and coming trendy neighbourhoods through a series of short videos.
See how the Stellenbosch Experience wowed London with a dinner at the city’s new hot spot The German Gymnasium here.

The Stellenbosch Experience campaign is made possible with the support from campaign partners Jordan Wine Estate, Kleine Zalze, Spier, Lourensford, Coopmanhuijs, Tokara, Stellenbosch Vineyards and Oldenburg as well as South African Tourism and South African Airways.