The Department of Tourism (DOT) heated its efforts to stir the local food tourism scene with the 2021 edition of the KAIN NA! Food and Travel Festival in partnership with Ayala Malls.
Earlier this year, representatives of the Philippine Tour Operators Association Inc. (PHILTOA) visit the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Ilocos Region, and Central Luzon to experience new culinary activities and tourist attractions that they can incorporate into their tour packages where the DOT led the food tourism validation caravans.
The packages include day tours, overnight stays, and 3-day/2-night promos to culinary tourism destinations like Pampanga, Bulacan, CALABARZON, Baguio, Subic, Benguet, Mountain Province, La Union, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur.
"Each year, the Kain Na Food and Travel Festival continues to evolve in response to the needs of our valued tourism stakeholders," Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said during the opening ceremony.
The theme for KAIN NA! is "Food Tourism Reboot," wherein it continued to serve its signature line-up of digital events. The events include the Global PROSPECTives in Food and Gastronomy Tourism, Food Tourism Exchange, and Food Tourism 101.
The Food tourism was held from June 10 to 13, while on-ground festivities were held at Ayala MarQuee Mall in Angeles City from June 11 to 13.
Puyat said 20 physical booths were put up for the festival, each promoting products and services of food and farm tourism stakeholders across the country, in cooperation with different DOT regional offices and the Department of Agriculture (DA).
Among the participating booths from Central Luzon are:
Aleli's Pastries; Apag Marangle/Cusina Manuela; Tollhouse; Sasmuan Local Products; Wil-Fel's delicacies; Farmers Joy; Yamang Bukid Healthy Products; Grann Garden Shop; RV De Dios Food Manufacturing; Kaka Association Incorporation; My Lola Nor's Meryendahan; and Florida-Lubao Organic Farmers Association.
Puyat added that this leg of KAIN NA! proved to be unique with the unveiling of culinary tours, food trips, and excursion packages developed by the PHILTOA and the food tourism consortium.
"With the help of the PHILTOA Food Tourism Consortium, let's see what real places, stories, food, and people we can find as they offer slow food travel experiences amidst the picturesque mountains of Benguet and the culture and history-laden lowlands of Ilocos, La Union, Pampanga, and Bulacan," Puyat remarked.
Meanwhile, the TED talks-inspired Food Tourism 101 featured learning sessions to help viewers maximize their online presence through Viber and Instagram. New culinary business models like cloud kitchens were likewise introduced through the sessions.
The online store of KAIN NA! featuring various iconic food items and local delicacies continues to be accessible at www.kainnastore.com. Online shoppers are treated to hundreds of food products from coffee, tea, chocolate specialty stores, Ayala partner merchants, slow food and food trip merchants from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.