24 October 2022

TİKA Supports the “VI. International Gastronomy Tourism Studies Congress”

Afyon Kocatepe University (AKU) and Afyonkarahisar Municipality held the VI. International Gastronomy Tourism Studies Congress, themed “Gastronomy for All,” in Afyonkarahisar with the contribution of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Türkiye, the Ministry of Industry and Technology of Türkiye, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA), Zafer Development Agency, Sandıklı Municipality, and Afyonkarahisar Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Congress, which was held from October 6 to 9, 2022, was attended by Assoc. Prof. Kübra Güran Yiğitbaşı, Governor of Afyonkarahisar; Mehmet Zeybek, Mayor of Afyonkarahisar; Prof. Mehmet Karakaş, President of AKU; Prof. Adem Aslan, Vice Chancellor of Afyonkarahisar Health Sciences University; Prof. Şuayıp Özdemir, Vice Chancellor of AKU; Prof. İsa Sağbaş, Dean of the Faculty of Tourism at AKU; Prof. Ahmet Yıldız, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at AKU; Prof. Murat Doğdubay, a faculty member at Balıkesir University and Term Chairman at the Congress; Mehmet Tanır, Provincial Director of Culture and Tourism of Türkiye; Veli Oğuz, Secretary-General at Zafer Development Agency; public and private sector representatives; and scientists and students from different countries.

At the opening ceremony of the congress, which started in a thermal hotel, Kübra Güran Yiğitbaşı, Governor of Afyonkarahisar, noted that she was very pleased that such a great congress was being held in Afyonkarahisar, which is one of the 3 cities in Türkiye and 49 cities in the world in the field of gastronomy in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Yiğitbaşı stated that the gastronomic heritage, which has become the main component of cultural attractiveness as the interest in the food and drink culture increases around the world, is considered one of the cultural values of countries. She said, “Gastronomy offers a guide on what, where, and when to eat or drink and how to pair food and drinks. While the goal of tourists was to explore their destination in general in the past, the curiosity of tourists about food culture and local food and their desire to experience them led to the emergence of gastronomy tourism. The number of tourists who prioritize traveling to culinary destinations is increasing day by day. When planning a vacation, we all think about eating and drinking first. When it comes to gastronomy, Turkish cuisine certainly takes the lead, as it is one of the oldest and richest existing cuisines in the world.”

“In our cuisine, people ripen first”

Yiğitbaşı stressed that Turkish cuisine consists of centuries-old recipes that heal both the body and the soul.

Yiğitbaşı noted that many recipes were devised in collaboration with physicians in Anatolia. She added,

“Therefore, the motto of this year’s edition is, ‘In our cuisine, people ripen first’. We believe that our food heals not only our body, but also our soul. When there is a well-established relationship between gastronomy and tourism, gastronomy tourism contributes not only to economic development, but also to regional development and the strengthening of local identity and culture. In addition to contributing to economic and social development, gastronomy tourism also allows for an emotional bond and symbolic interaction between local people and tourists, thus significantly improving the image and marketing of the region. It is a well-known fact that gastronomy tourism contributes to the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of the destination by increasing visitor spending and extending the tourist season. Food and drinks strengthen tourism as long as they create a market for tourists.”

Prof. Mehmet Karakaş, President of AKU, noted that Culinary Programs in the Department of Gastronomy and Culinary Arts and Schools of Vocational Higher Education in the Faculty of Tourism at AKU have a total of 1,400 students majoring in gastronomy in the 2022-2033 academic year. Karakaş said, “Our university, which is located in Afyonkarahisar, one of the 3 cities in Türkiye in the field of gastronomy in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, strives to contribute to the gastronomic culture of the city through graduate academic studies, industry partnership initiatives, and social activities. The objective of the ‘VI. International Gastronomy Tourism Studies Congress’ is to develop strategies and policies for destinations with significant advantages and areas for improvement in gastronomy tourism, to benefit the industry in the target area, and to contribute to the relevant literature.”

Mehmet Zeybek, Mayor of Afyonkarahisar, stated that the city has been home to 7 civilizations and has nearly 600 different kinds of local products.

After the opening speeches, the VI. International Gastronomy Tourism Studies Congress continued with a presentation on “Gastronomy Tourism and the Future of Sustainable Development” by Prof. Anukrati Sharma, a faculty member at the University of Kota in India.

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