Michigan Culinary Tourism Update
In 2009, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development’s Grape and Wine Industry Council saw an opportunity to help develop Michigan as a “culinary destination” and since then has been leading an initiative called the Michigan Culinary Tourism Alliance.
Since it was initiated, the Michigan Culinary Tourism Alliance has achieved a number of goals which include :
· Forming the Michigan Chapter of the International Culinary Tourism Association
· Creating nine “Foodie Tours”, posted on Travel Michigan’s website (www.michigan.org/foodie-tours/) and criteria for new tours
· Organizing a Culinary Tourism Conference in 2011
· Increasing media exposure for and awareness to the general public and the food industry of the importance of culinary tourism, hospitality and agricultural tourism sectors.
On October 3rd, 2012 the Alliance gathered approximately 30 organizations at it’s annual meeting. Reports were given from culinary tourism specialists and planners from across the State of Michigan. Linda Jones (Executive Director of the Grape and Wine Industry Council and Facilitator of the Culinary Alliance) and Gordon Wenk (Chief Deputy, MDARD) opened the meeting with ongoing enthusiasm for collaboration and support of the Michigan Culinary Tourism Alliance. Engaged presenters talked about a range of culinary activities and partnership opportunities, including the Michigan “Catch and Cook” Program (www.micatchandcook.com), Epicurean FAM Tours/Mario Batali partnership (click You Tube link), a new culinary tourism course at Grand Valley State University, the Michigan Tourism Strategic Plan (currently being developed by Sarah Nicholls, MSU) and Michigan Brewers Guild/ Michigan distillers.