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IGCAT Top Websites for Foodie Travelers

IGCAT Top Websites for Foodie Travelers - TRAVELINDEXLappeeranta, Finland, February 5, 2024 / TRAVELINDEX / Hungry for an exceptionally tasty adventure across borders? IGCAT has just announced the Top 10 Websites for Foodie Travelers 2024 so that you can be tempted to embark on a unique journey and discover fascinating food cultures!

Unveiled at a gala event held on 2 February in Lappeeranta (Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy 2024, Finland), IGCAT’s Top 10 Websites for Foodie Travelers 2024 offer unique, creative, cultural and gastronomic experiences from across the globe. Food and wine tastings, farm or factory visits, cookery classes, craft-related experience, food and/or wine routes, food and/or wine markets or fairs, museums or heritage sites related to food etc. These are only some of the experiences that can be found on the awarded websites that strive to promote local gastronomy, producers and distinctive food cultures.

President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD reported that “the Jury applauded all participating websites for their commitment to nurturing more meaningful relationships between locals and international visitors, by giving international visibility to niche food and culture experiences and moreover, supporting micro-businesses – especially in rural areas where the economic impact can make a real difference. Their contribution to sustainable territorial development is just part of their appeal but the creativity of food experiences never ceases to amaze us.”

In the presence of international guests and local stakeholders involved in Saimaa’s title year, the top 10 websites selected from global submissions were announced, providing a most tantalising list. The jury noted that nine of the ten submissions selected come from World and European Regions of Gastronomy and justified this, as these websites stood apart for their exceptional values related to supporting circular economies and their creativity. The winning websites are:

      • NJOY Catalonia from Catalonia, World Region of Gastronomy awarded 2025;
      • Äksyt Ämmät from Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2024;
      • RhodeTrip from South Aegean, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019;
      • Slovenia.info from Slovenia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021;
      • Sawa Taste of Tunisia from Tunisia;
      • Winery Tasting Sicily from Sicily, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2025;
      • Kos Locally Grown from South Aegean, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2019;
      • Norway Food Region from Trondheim-Trøndelag, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022;
      • D.O. Saimaa from Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2024;
      • Cómete Menorca from Menorca, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2022.

    IGCAT’s international jury and criteria

    The websites submitted to the 3rd edition of the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers competition were evaluated by an international jury of experts from IGCAT who assessed them according to a series of criteria such as usability, sustainability and creativity of the experiences offered, as well as their connection with the regions they promote.

    The jury included: Dr. Edith M. Szivas (Switzerland/UK), Vice-President of IGCAT and expert in sustainable tourism; Levan Kharatishvili (Georgia), CEO and founder of the Creative Strategies Lab, and expert in cultural strategies, cultural heritage, and creative industries; Dr. Lidia Varbanova (Bulgaria/Canada), senior consultant, lecturer and researcher in arts, culture and the creative industries; Prof. Dezső Kovács (Hungary), expert and researcher in rural development, tourism development in rural areas, world heritage, wine tourism and beekeeping; Marina Simião (Brazil), Chief of Staff at Emater-Minas Gerais and expert in creative tourism; and Jorge Bernárdez (Spain), lecturer at EU Business School and expert in business, arts and tourism management, food and gastronomic networks.

    A gala night to crown the winning websites

    Attended by representatives of candidate and awarded World and European Regions of Gastronomy and local stakeholders, the gala event was hosted as part of the celebrations of Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy 2024 that officially kicked-off their title year with an opening weekend full of events and surprises (2-4-February).

    Held at Kehruuhuone restaurant in the Lappeenranta fortress, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers 2024 award ceremony was moderated by Saimi Hoyer, Ambassador of Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy 2024, and counted with the presence of Regional Mayor of South Karelia, Satu Sikanen; Director of Tourism and Marketing at the City of Lappeenranta, Mirka Rahman; Director for goSaimaa, Regional tourism development and marketing company, Katja Vehviläinen; and President of IGCAT, Diane Dodd PhD.

    The ceremony culminated with a Taste Saimaa dinner specially designed for the occasion and hosted by CEO of goSaimaa, Katja Vehviläinen and Taste Saimaa Ambassador, Ulla Liukkonen, inspired by the local producers and nature.

    Earlier in the day, a seminar was held with national and international speakers on the significance of the European Region of Gastronomy 2024 title for Saimaa and opportunities for international cooperation with other regions holding the award. Alongside, a food market was organised with producers from the Taste Saimaa Partner network exhibiting their products.

    About IGCAT’s Top Websites for Foodie Travelers

    By publishing an annual list of Top Websites for Foodie Travelers, IGCAT aims to: increase international visitors access to quality food and cultural experiences; give international visibility to niche food and culture experiences; and reward portals and apps that support micro-businesses and contribute to sustainable territorial development.

    In doing so, IGCAT hopes to encourage the development of new and unique food experiences initiatives or start-ups, and provide inspiration to build innovative, creative and positive food experiences.

    The Top 10 Websites for Foodie Travelers 2024 will be given international visibility and will be permanently promoted on IGCAT’s website and social media.

    About the World/European Regions of Gastronomy
    World/European Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to strengthen food security through the celebration of distinctive food cultures; create employment by stimulating creativity and gastronomic innovation; nourish children and adults through culinary and cultural education; driving environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; supporting balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlighting and supporting expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practices; and contributing to community health and well-being.

    About IGCAT
    IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance of protecting and promoting distinct regional food, culture, arts and natural assets as part of sustainable and balanced tourism and development strategies. This is essential to safeguarding our planet, health, wellness 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 worldwide network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.

    IGCAT founded the World/European Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World/European Regions of Gastronomy Platforms. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the World Food Gift Challenge, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers Award and the international Food Film Menu.