Destination: dinner! Millions of travelers plan their vacations solely around food

LONDON — Would you travel all the way to Italy just for the pizza? Millions of travelers plan their entire vacations around the food at their destination, a new survey reveals. The poll of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom finds cuisine is more important than culture, landmarks, or even beaches when it comes to picking out the perfect getaway.

Another 42 percent feel nervous about visiting a country where they don’t know what’s on the menu. Nearly a quarter (23%) say their bucket list consists of more food to try than locations to travel to. However, 49 percent like to eat at local independent restaurants when they’re away, while 21 percent will seek out delectable street foods.

Many people also like to get exotic with their dining choices on vacation. One in four (26%) have tried octopus while on vacation, 14 percent have sampled frogs’ legs, and four percent have chowed down on a grasshopper or two.

“One thing that’s clear from our research is that, as a nation, we can get quite comfortable travelling to the same destinations over and over again,” says Rachel Swift, chief customer officer for Tesco Mobile, which commissioned the survey, in a statement.

French restaurant in Paris
There’s nothing quite like a real French bistro, like this one in Paris. (Photo by Alex Harmuth on Unsplash)

Among the Brits in the poll, European foods they’d usually never try at home are most popular among travelers, including Polish, Portuguese, and Scandinavian meals. The top food-led destinations travelers are heading to this summer include Italy, Spain, France, Greece, and Portugal.

When respondents travel, they are more likely to try local cuisines rather than seek out foods familiar from home (40% vs. 12%). More than two thirds (69%) put this down to having a more “authentic” travel experience, while 37 percent do so to get the freshest foods.

For 26 percent, it’s an opportunity to help the local economy, while the same number like to interact with locals. The research, carried out by OnePoll, also found nine percent will also do “a great deal” of research into where to eat before they travel abroad.

Top 20 Euro Cuisines That Get People Traveling For Food:

  1. Italy
  2. Spain
  3. France
  4. Greece
  5. Portugal
  6. Germany
  7. Belgium
  8. Canary Islands
  9. Netherlands
  10. Switzerland
  11. Malta
  12. Austria
  13. Sweden
  14. Poland
  15. Republic of Cyprus
  16. Denmark
  17. Ireland
  18. Croatia
  19. Norway
  20. Jersey (Channel Islands)

South West News Service writer Charlotte Minett contributed to this report.

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