As the appetite for culinary tourism increases worldwide, operators can now turn to The Independent Food Tour Association (TIFTA) for support and referrals.
TIFTA was launched by eight founding members in Asia, including SingaBites, Food Tour Malaysia, Oishii Tokyo, Taste of Thailand Food Tours, Saigon Street Eats, Lost Plate Food Tours, Eating Adventures Food Tours and Queenie's Food Tours.
Demand for food tours on the rise; food lovers in Hong Kong pictured (photo credit: Eating Adventures Food Tours)
James Pelham, co-founder of TIFTA and founder and chief taster of Singapore-based Singabites, said: “The food tour sector is constantly growing and becoming more and more popular. By starting TIFTA, we want to make it easier for food travellers to find the best tours as well as create a community where we can all help each other grow.”
Pelham envisions TIFTA as a platform that travellers can use to find reliable and high-quality food tours around the world. The association is now concentrating its efforts in Asia with the goal of recruiting 30 tours by the end of 2017.
The association accepts only operators that are “locally run and use local vendors during their tours thus putting money back into local food communities”, Pelham told TTG Asia.
“We don't accept members who are owned by big agencies or government organisations. We want to help the small guys,” he elaborated.
TIFTA will also consider customer and peer reviews as part of its recruiting process, said Pelham, and will “keep (members’) standards high” by monitoring reviews and changes in company activity.
The corporate travel segment is also on the plate for the association's expansion. “With our contacts across the region, we could definitely help corporate event planners," said Pelham. “Food is one thing that everyone can agree is a good reason to get out of the office and have fun.”