Saturday, September 29, 2012

Culinary Tourism: Savior of the Greek Tourism Industry?

As one of the major aspects of the health-conscious Mediterranean Diet movement, will Greek-based culinary tourism prove to be the savior of Greece’s ailing tourism industry?

By: Ringo Bones

Contrary to popular belief, Greek cuisine – unlike its Greek diaspora run American equivalent – is not just a Mediterranean “culinary orgy” of meat and saturated fats. The authentic Greek version of the famed health-conscious Mediterranean Diet is a very star contrast to its American cousin and is largely composed of locally grown garden fresh vegetables prepared in a traditional manner that dates back before the great Greek philosophers wrote their various treatises to enrich Western Civilization. This makes such Greek culinary tradition a “keeper of the faith” of the recent slow-food revolution and due to its healthiness and culinary significance, the Greek aspect of the Mediterranean Diet and slow-food revolution even won it a declaration by UNESCO the “intangible heritage” classification.

At the moment, tourists are veering away from Greece as a primary destination which is sad because at present Greece could use every form of economic stimulus that it badly needs to solve the country’s rather herculean debt crisis. Scared of by the still relatively strong euro, most budget-conscious tourists rather opt for Greek-like travel destinations in the Mediterranean not yet on the euro. Given that Greece is more than just Classical Greek era ruins, promotion of the healthier aspect of the Greek cuisine could surely boost tourist arrivals. But will efforts to promote the health benefits of traditional Greek cuisine as part of the burgeoning slow-foods revolution bring in the much needed tourism revenue back to Greece? Only time will tell.