The inaugural United Nations Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific Press Conference.
The inaugural United Nations Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific Press Conference.

Frasco confirms Philippine’s commitment to UN Gastronomic Educational Center proposal

The inaugural United Nations Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific on June 26, 2024, at Shangri-La mactan, held a press conference attended by key figures in the tourism and culinary sectors. Among the distinguished speakers were Ms. Idoia Calleja, Director of Masters and Courses at the Basque Culinary Center, H.E. Ms. Christina Garcia Frasco, Secretary of the Department of Tourism, Philippines, and Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of UN Tourism.

Setting the Stage

The press conference focused on insights into tourism initiatives and strategies to bolster gastronomy tourism across the Asia Pacific region. Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili outlined the criteria for hosting the regional forum, emphasizing the importance of a country's background and suitability for holding such a prestigious gastronomy event.

Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of UN Tourism.
Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of UN Tourism.

"Cebu is the ideal location for the first edition of the forum," noted Secretary-General Pololikashvili. "The city's vibrant gastronomic scene and strong cultural heritage make it a perfect fit for this inaugural event."

A Pilot Episode for Future Forums

Describing the forum as a litmus test and a pilot episode for future editions, Secretary-General Pololikashvili underscored its significance in setting a precedent for subsequent UN Tourism events focused on gastronomy. The event serves as a platform to showcase best practices and innovations in promoting culinary tourism.

Long-term Goals and Educational Focus

Ms. Idoia Calleja, Director of Masters and Courses at the Basque Culinary Center.
Ms. Idoia Calleja, Director of Masters and Courses at the Basque Culinary Center.

When queried about the forum's long-term goals, Ms. Idoia Calleja highlighted the importance of education and talent development in gastronomy. "Our primary goal is to elevate education in gastronomy, focusing on training talented individuals in core values and essential skills," she remarked. "This initiative aims to create a domino effect, enhancing culinary expertise across the region."

Commitment to Gastronomic Education

H.E. Ms. Christina Garcia Frasco, Secretary of the Department of Tourism, during her opening speech.
H.E. Ms. Christina Garcia Frasco, Secretary of the Department of Tourism, during her opening speech.

Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco officially confirmed the Philippines' commitment to the proposal for establishing UN Gastronomic Educational Centers during the press conference. "The Philippines enthusiastically accepts and supports the United Nations Gastronomic Educational Centers proposal," Secretary Frasco declared. "We are open to discussions and collaboration to advance this project, underscoring our dedication to promoting culinary education and excellence."

The press conference concluded with a strong sense of optimism and collaboration among participants. Secretary-General Pololikashvili expressed confidence in the forum's outcomes and its potential to shape the future of gastronomy tourism in the Asia Pacific region. Participants agreed that the event marks a pivotal moment in strengthening international cooperation and promoting cultural exchange through gastronomy.

As the forum progresses, stakeholders anticipate further discussions and initiatives aimed at harnessing the full potential of gastronomy tourism to foster sustainable development and cultural appreciation across borders.

About the United Nations Tourism Regional Forum

The United Nations Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific is a pioneering event aimed at promoting culinary tourism as a driver of economic growth and cultural exchange. Hosted in Cebu, Philippines, the forum gathers ministers, experts, and stakeholders to explore innovative strategies and collaborations in gastronomy tourism.

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