CROSSDEV - What we can change and how we can build a more sustainable future


Editor’s note:
This article was written by Diane Dodd, PhD, President and Founder of IGCAT - International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism - as a further reflection following a series of 3 lectures Mrs Dodd recently held within the CROSSDEV project about the future of the tourism industry after Covid-19.

Diane Dodd, PhD

Covid-19 has already impacted all our lives and is set to continue to hit hard on the livelihoods of  hospitality, tourism, events and culture related businesses.  How to survive and use this period for tourism, culture, hotels, restaurants, community life to come out stronger in the long-term was the focus of three seminars provided in solidarity with CrossDev partners.  Knowledge is survival because, when then we can be prepared for what will come next.  There are many things we can't change right now so we need to collectively focus on what we can change and how we can build a more sustainable future together.

It is fair to say that clients for F&B will be greatly reduced for the coming year, as we are reliant on local clients with possibly many having less disposable income.  Doing business as usual therefore is not an option. Our future clients will have very different expectations than those prior to Covid-19 and I'm not just talking about sterilization and/or other safety measures.  IGCAT had already signalled changes in customer behaviour as early as 2017 but an industry steeped in tradition is difficult to shift. Covid-19 therefore is an opportunity to rethink how we do things, who for and address what they really want.  Businesses need to get creative if they want to survive and come out stronger. 

Territories can train and support businesses to adapt however, it is more imperative than ever to align strategies and visions as well as to build the mechanisms to cross-market thereby maximising the possibilities for visitors to spend more. The other important need is for regions not to hard-sell but to be part of something bigger, that can tell a story and generate interest. For example, the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform that is working together to:

  • preserve and promote cultural and food diversity;
  • encourage innovation, solidarity and collaboration;
  • follow a logic of sustainable and equitable development during the post-Covid-19 recovery.

IGCAT firmly believes that such a Platform offers the space for exchange and cooperation as already witnessed in international cultural routes.  The richness, dynamism, and diversity of our societies can only be strengthened when we share knowledge and connect with our international friends/peers.  Two seminars looked deeper into changes that can be made both in the development of creative visitor experiences and encouraging innovation in product design and distribution.

Finally, the importance of solidarity can not be forgotten because our future clients are/will be more responsible and caring visitors. By working together across different international initiatives we can build a better future.

Download below the presentations of the recent lectures by Mrs. Dodd for CROSSDEV:

About the Region of Gastronomy     

Candidate and awarded Regions of Gastronomy guided by IGCAT, are working together to raise awareness about the importance of their cultural and food uniqueness; stimulate creativity and gastronomic innovation; educate for better nutrition; improve sustainable tourism standards; highlight distinctive food cultures; and strengthen community well-being.


IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to safeguard and promote distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. This is essential to balance against globalised food trends that are impacting on our planet, health and local economies.

IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. It counts on the expertise of a global network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.

IGCAT provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World Region of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu.

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