Priceless opportunities for İzmir in gastronomic tourism
3 November 2017 Share

Priceless opportunities for İzmir in gastronomic tourism

 Gastronomic tourism, one of the world’s high value-added tourism sectors, offers priceless opportunities for İzmir.

 

Food engineer Senem Erdoğan did a comprehensive research on the gastronomic variety in İzmir in her master’s thesis that she completed at Yaşar University’s Department of Tourism Management. Meeting the sixteen prominent figures of the city’s gastronomy to make suggestions as to how the city’s economy could be boosted, Erdoğan said, “İzmir can become a real attraction for the tourists that are interested in different cultures and experiences, thanks to its local cuisine.” 

THE CUISINE MIRRORING THE CULTURAL DIVERSITY 

Noting that İzmir’s prosperous cuisine should be improved in terms of marketing and branding, Senem Erdoğan elaborates on this fact and the methods that can be employed to this end in her master’s thesis. Here are some recommendations from Senem Erdoğan:

“İzmir’s cuisine is characterized by recipes and traditional cooking methods that bear the traces of Levantine, Hellenic, Cretan, Sephardic, Anatolian and Greek cuisines. This makes İzmir a gastronomically advantageous city. However, we need more effective promotional works to be carried out to get more attention to İzmir’s local cuisine. To be able to achieve this, we need professional companies’ support. We also need to make use of some bloggers who focus on gastronomy and have strong ties with the media; foreign chefs and opinion leaders should be invited and hosted, and magnificent festivals and events should be organized. We need to promote our local products at international fairs and competitions abroad. Gastronomy events should be encouraged in İzmir and the İzmir Peninsula. Within this context, a gastronomic advisory committee is also needed so we can organize and realize projects to improve the gastronomic tourism. To represent İzmir’s cuisine in foreign countries, Aegean restaurants need to be started in different countries so they function as tourism offices.” 

FESTIVALS, TOURS AND TASTINGS

“İzmir’s local cuisine encompasses such beverages as Urla’s wine, ‘sübye’, Turkish coffee with gum mastic; dishes made with olive oil and with such different herbs as cnicus (şevketibostan), urtica (ısırgan otu), soleirolia (arapsaçı), artichoke; İzmir’s street foods that include fava, mussels, ‘boyoz’, unripe almond; as well as migrants’ special recipes that include İzmir meatball, Ödemiş meatball, Tire meatball. This gastronomic culture should be introduced to big masses through festivals, tours and tastings. Turkish coffee with gum mastic and Erkence’s natural extra virgin olive oil should be identified with their own geographical indications, and all necessary works need to be carried out to this end so these two products are known as the star products of Urla and Çeşme at international promotional events. Historically significant restaurants in İzmir also need to be supported so they can survive. Instead of waiting for ‘Gastro tourists’ to come and discover the tasting spots in Kemeraltı, Alsancak and at similar locations of the İzmir city that have retained their historic value for some generations, the symbolic locations and tastes in İzmir need to be made available to tourists in the forms of brochure and mini gastro maps that can be viewed on smart phone applications,” said Erdoğan to explain the things that can be useful in increasing the number of the people who are familiar with İzmir’s street food and its historic restaurants.