Ubud in Bali could become the first gastronomic destination endorsed by the UNWTO, fanning Indonesia’s hopes to develop gastronomic and culinary tourism.
Arief Yahya, Indonesia’s tourism minister said Ubud’s run for UNWTO recognition is part of the country’s overarching strategy to develop gastronomic tourism. “The richness of culture and tradition in Indonesia produces interesting gastronomic diversity. If gastronomy is properly developed, it can be (an important tourism asset).”
According to data from the Ministry of Tourism data, around 30-40 per cent of tourist spending goes to food-related consumption. The ministry also projects 35 per cent of overseas travellers will visit the country to explore gastronomy by 2030.
Vita Datau, chief of the tourism ministry’s acceleration and tourism development team, said that Ubud is picked due to its readiness for gastronomic tourism and support from the regional government.
Vita added: “Another consideration is that the culture of local wisdom is still very strong in Ubud. Each dish presented (tells a story). This is important because one of the UNWTO assessment points is (the food’s ability to reflect) the diversity of cultures and local (produce and ingredients).”
To become a UNWTO prototype for gastronomic world destination, there are five standard criteria that must be met, including lifestyle, local products, culture and history, the story behind the dish, and nutrition and health.
Roberta Garibaldi, lead expert from UNWTO, explained that there are three stages of assessment, namely “inventory of assets and attractions, verification and analysis, and stakeholder recommendations”.
Aditya Amaranggana, project specialist at UNWTO, added that there are four objectives of the programme carried out in Ubud – building the image of Ubud as a gastronomic tourism destination, creating a gastronomic tourism cluster in Ubud through the participation of local communities, developing innovative products and experiences in terms of gastronomic tourism, and encouraging integration between individuals and companies in Ubud and the rest of Bali.
She said: “UNWTO will see how gastronomy is developed so that it supports sustainable development and creates new jobs.”
After Ubud, the Ministry of Tourism hopes that Bandung, Yogyakarta, Solo and Semarang will become the next gastronomic destinations in Indonesia.