PH to host 1st UN Tourism Gastronomy Forum in Cebu – Tourism Department
PH to host 1st UN Tourism Gastronomy Forum in Cebu – Tourism Department
PH to host 1st UN Tourism Gastronomy Forum in Cebu – Tourism Department
by Karen Ow-Yong05 June 2024
Courtesy of Department of Tourism (DOT)

MANILA – The Philippines is gearing up for the upcoming hosting of the inaugural UN Tourism Regional Forum on Gastronomy Tourism for Asia and the Pacific, which is expected to draw in gastronomy powerhouses in the region to share best practices and promote food as one of the leading drivers of the tourism industry.

According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), the event is expected to gather some 300 attendees, including ministers from UN member-states, affiliate members and tourism stakeholders from international organizations to exchange knowledge and best tourism practices in the Pacific, East and South Asia regions.

DOT added that the event is in response to “travellers’ growing interest in food and the opportunities that gastronomy holds in sustainable socio-economic development, cultural exchange and well-being.”

Hosted by the Philippines through the Department of Tourism (DOT), the event will be held at Shangri-La Mactan in Cebu City from 26-27 June 2024, while the 36th UN Tourism Joint Commission Meeting for East Asia and the Pacific and Commission for South Asia is scheduled on 28 June 2024 at Sheraton Mactan, the DOT stated.


Aside from the day-long forum on June 26, which will tackle policy framework for the development and promotion of gastronomy tourism, value of land and products in the sustainable development of gastronomy tourism, cost-effective and environmentally responsible strategies for reducing food waste and promoting local sourcing, successful best practices in gastronomy tourism in the Asia Pacific region, among others, the delegates will be able to sample the best of Philippine flavors through a showcase by top Filipino chefs, and get a glimpse of Cebu’s allure as a top tourist destination through a technical tour on 27 June 2024, the DOT said.

PH Home of the world’s best dishes

Filipino dishes such as the iconic “adobo” or braised pork and chicken, “sinigang” or tamarind-based sour soup and the ever-popular open fire-roasted “lechon” and “sisig” have earned praise and recognition from known food journalists, such as the late chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain calling lechon the “best pig ever” and declared Pampanga’s sizzling pork medley sisig as “perfectly positioned to win the hearts and minds of the world as a whole.” While food critic Andrew Zimmern has gone on record to declare Filipino food as “the next big thing” in the U.S. as early as 2017, according to the Tourism Department.


The Philippines is also home to Iloilo city, a UNESCO Creative City for Gastronomy, and regions such as Western Visayas, the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Pampanga and Cebu are actively engaged in the development of Slow Food programs, the DOT mentioned.

Such acknowledgements, as well as the increasing popularity of Filipino and fusion food around the world, as shown through the numerous awards and citations given to Filipino chefs, restaurants, food, chocolate, liquor and spirits, further fueled the drive to promote culinary tourism, recognizing the country’s vast potential as a leading gastronomy destination in Asia, the DOT explains.

Under the National Tourism Development Plan 2023-2028 and in line with DOT’s enhanced tourism campaign, “Love the Philippines”, DOT Sec. Christina Garcia Frasco said that the Department is “deep into developing more culinary tours and festivals, dining destinations, and food trail activities” to further intensify the promotion and development of the country’s diverse gastronomy tourism offerings.

“As we intensify our diversification of the country’s tourism portfolio through multidimensional tourism, we strongly see food as a crucial element in enhancing the Philippine cultural experience. In addition to integrating food in festivals, arts and crafts, traditions, and practices, we are actively working towards supporting the development of halal/Muslim-friendly tourism, heritage villages for cultural communities, and the preservation of farms and heritage sites,” the DOT chief emphasized.


Courtesy of Department of Tourism (DOT)

Philippines as Chair of UN Tourism Commission for East Asia and the Pacific


The DOT also expressed its readiness to host the upcoming UN Tourism events, with the goal of highlighting the country’s culinary treasures on the global stage.

“As Chair of the UN Tourism Commission for East Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines commits fully to leveraging the region’s strategic position to promote a range of initiatives that will benefit not only our country but also our neighbors, particularly, its rich and diverse gastronomy tourism portfolio,” Frasco said.

According to the tourism chief, the Philippines could not be a more fitting host country for the event, with the growing popularity of Filipino food across the world.

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