Culinary tours allow travelers to go beyond the tourist hotspots and experience the history, culture and distinct tastes of a destination, according to an annual survey of United States Tour Operator Association (USTOA) active members. The survey shows that more than half of respondents (53%) planned to offer new "experiential" travel programs this year, naming culinary themed tours at the top of the list.
“Travelers tend to be more adventurous when exploring the world and this includes their taste buds. Many would rather take part in native culinary traditions than eat the same food they can get at home,” said Terry Dale, president of USTOA. “Luckily for travelers, USTOA members recognize the importance of food in travel and celebrate authentic culinary experiences around the globe.”
From Eastern Canada to Vietnam, here is a sampling of culinary vacations offered by USTOA members:
• Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s 13-day “Splendors of Italy 2013” cruise from Venice to Rome, offers travelers a variety of culinary experiences. Available on multiple departure dates between April and November 2013, prices start at $5,499 per person with savings up to $1,200 per couple if booked by October 31, 2012. For additional details visit www.uniworld.com.
· Travel Indochina’s “Vietnam Culinary Discovery” explores the people and traditions of Vietnam from the vantage point of the kitchen. This 11-day journey is available on a number of departure dates through March 2014 with prices from $1,995 per person. Visit www.travelindochina.com for additional details.
· Collette Vacations “Collette Classic Touring: The Best of Eastern Canada.” Available on a number of dates in October 2012, April through October 2013, and April 2014, prices start at $2,149. Visit www.collettevacations.com for more information.
· Lion World Tours’ “Culinary Safari,” offered on several departure dates in 2012 and 2013, provides travelers the opportunity to explore South Africa. Prices starting from $6,499, visit www.lionworldtravel.com for more information.
· Swain Tours’ “There is Nothing Like Australia” tour offers guests the opportunity to eat breakfast with kangaroos, among other experiences. Prices from $12,070, this 12-night journey must be booked by November 30, 2012. Visit www.swaintours.com for additional details.