Food is now a central part of creating a destination. Jeanine Bribosia of communications agency, The Cru, shared her insights on this phenomenon at the Destination Food conference in Sydney last week. She believes that just one significant eatery is all it takes to change the perception and economics of an entire region.

As we’ve learned, food tourism is rising at unprecedented levels. This means it is not unusual for people to book a holiday to a specific region, city or country specifically because it’s known for its dining scene.

“In some ways, destination dining doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Jeanine Bribosia told the audience at Destination Food.

“It’s not easy, it’s not cheap and it’s not practical,” she explained.

“It’s about an experience that nog everyone else can or will have and experiences are the new Chanel handbag or the new Rolex watch”.

Jeanine Bribosia of The Cru.

Jeanine said a true destination diner creates magic because they don’t just tell what is so special about that place they show what is so special by distilling what is unique about it into one experience.

“They’re transportative for a tourist, they’re a true expression of place,” she said.

She said it has been fascinating to see how food destinations are created from scratch – either organically or with a strategic approach from a developer.

“It has become very apparent to developers in recent years as well as hoteliers and retailers that food is a central part of creating a destination now”.

Jeanine Bribosia of The Cru.

She used several case studies in her talk, including Sydney’s Barangaroo precinct.

Matt Moran at Barangaroo House.

The developers attracted the best restauranteurs and most famous chefs with a goal to make Barangaroo a dining destination that would lure city workers as well as tourists from the established parts of CBD to a new part of the city.

They knew they needed a few true destination diners so they wooed the team behind Bentley to create the best seafood restaurant on the water, Cirrus Dining, and celebrity chef Matt Moran to get behind the three-story Barangaroo House.

Jeanine also used the example of the  Southern Highlands where the restaurant Biota Dining transformed Bowral into a food destination.

Biota. Source: The Australian

Biota has since conducted studies which show 90% of their diners are from out of the region with 70% of these people coming purely to visit Biota.

As a result, 20% decided to spend two nights in the region. Perhaps the most incredible part of this is that 30% had never visited the highlands before visitng Biota.

Since Biota’s opening, a dozen great places to eat and drink have popped up in the area.

Jeanine also pointed to Noma in Denmark and the incredible effect it has had on tourism in the country.

READ: FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD: Rezdy reveals just how popular Food Tourism really is

READ: DESTINATION FOOD: Culinary tourism is in hot demand right now

Do you agree that a dining experience can transform a whole region? Let us know below.