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Clean street food hubs at all tourist destinations is key to promote gastronomic tourism: Rita Teaotia, Chairperson, FSSAI

Monday, December 17, 2018, 11:13 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff| New Delhi

Speaking at a National Workshop on 'Roadmap to sustainable gastronomic tourism' organised as part of Tasting India symposium and Eat Right Mela by FSSAI, Rita Teaotia, Chairperson, FSSAI said that India demands clean and hygienic street food hubs at all the tourist destinations to showcase India's rich food diversity and promote the country as a gastronomic tourism destination. She said that that is high-time all stakeholders of the food ecosystem got together and drawn the roadmap for that.

While world over Gastronomic tourism is a major draw with visitors as per UNWTO reports, India is yet to find it's placed in global agency's report on Gastronomic tourism, she said. Food is the third most important reason and expenditure while travelling to a destination, and therefore gastronomy is an integral component of visitor experience, she added. Citing the UNWTO report of 2016 on gastronomic tourism, Teaotia said that government and it's agencies alone cannot bring such drastic changes, nor the private businesses. The issues need to be addressed with a sense of closer partnership.

Gyan Bhushan, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, also stressed on culinary tourism to reach the ambitious target of 20 m foreign visitors to India by 2020. He said that although foreign tourists now have a fair idea about Indian food because of mushrooming Indian restaurants across the world, they still lack trust and confidence. 

Bhushan said that it is high-time we combined science with heritage to make our food presentable, tasty and healthy. He said that proper research is required in that direction and Tourism ministry look at providing funding and assistance for such research project. He also advocated proper documentation of different cuisines to bring standardisation.

Anil Bhandari, Chairman of AB Smart Concepts also supported the idea of Street food hubs at tourist destinations. He said that culinary tourism packages are challenging as there is a dearth of good quality food joints in cities including Delhi. Supporting the suggestion of documentation of India dishes, Bhandari said that eminent chefs have written many cookbooks that need is to authenticate them and accept as standards.

Speaking on the occasion Arbind Singh, Co-founder of National Association of Street Vendors' of India ( NASVI) said that in the era of rapid urbanisation, street food culture can only offer an answer to sustainable gastronomy. Malls and restaurants are not sustainable and would not help in preserving our food culture, he added.

A summary of a Citizens White paper on the future gastronomic tourism in India was presented at the workshop by Sanjoo Malhotra and Sourish Bhattachryya. They proposed to bring Street Food into the national tourism discourse. Among key proposals include setting up a national food museum and gallery, national street food awards, etc.

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