A number of nations are diving into culinary diplomacy, promoting their food on the international stage. The result? Increased recognition and a growth in “gastronomic tourism.”
Peru is one of those nations. It’s promoting products like quinoa and pisco (a type of brandy). It’s launched an export and tourism promotion campaign focused on food. And the efforts are resulting in international recognition…and more interest in Peruvian food, there, and abroad. There’s also an economic boon; per the Peruvian embassy, “40 percent of all tourism to Peru in 2013 was motivated primarily by food. Gastronomic tourism generated about $700 million that year…”
Academics call this “culinary nation branding.” American University recently hosted an event called The Kitchen as the New Venue of Foreign Policy: Can Food Build Peace or Drive Conflict? (The event apparently sold out).
“Think – if you’re Peru, Mexico or Korea, you are not going to be major nuclear proliferators,” says Johanna Mendelson-Forman, a policy expert on international conflict. “But maybe you can hope to become the world’s No. 1 culinary destination.”