During the 5th edition of the UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in San Sebastian in 2019, Flanders and the City of Bruges have officially been presented as host for the 6th edition of this top conference in 2020.
The Forum is organized by UNWTO and the Basque Culinary Centre (BCC) alternately in San Sebastian, Spain, and another host country. Every year, this forum brings together Ministers of Tourism, chefs, entrepreneurs, producers, academia and related stakeholders from tourism and gastronomy. “We are extremely proud that, through their joint efforts, EventFlanders and the City of Bruges have succeeded in bringing this top conference to Bruges”, says alderman of Tourism Philip Pierins. Flemish minister of Tourism Zuhal Demir adds: “In 2020, gastronomy is coming back home. During the UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism in Bruges, we want to show the world that this city offers countless eating opportunities. Nowhere else in the world do you find so many Michelin stars on such a limited area and nowhere in the world is the difference between the haute cuisine and the ‘ordinary’ gastronomy so negligible. We need to be more aware of that and we have to make sure that the whole world knows it too.”
Mayor Dirk De fauw: “We are expecting about 500 delegates from all around the world. This shows that conferences are the perfect way to put Bruges on the map. A lot of conference delegates come and experience the nice atmosphere in our city and hopefully they’ll come back with their families.”
The conference will take place in the Concertgebouw from 1 to 4 June 2020. It will be attended by approximately 500 participants from all over the world. The theme for the 2020 edition is ‘Gastronomy Tourism: Promoting Rural Tourism and Regional Development’. “An interesting topic, particularly for Bruges and the local gastronomic partners”, says alderman of Work and Entrepreneurship Pablo Annys. “During this two-day conference, local companies and hotel and catering schools will have the opportunity to exchange experiences with stakeholders from the gastronomy sector from all over the world. The sector will undoubtedly benefit from this”, says Gert De Mangeleer, chef at L.E.S.S. by Hertog Jan in Bruges and co-owner of Michelin-starred restaurant Hertog Jan***, which closed its doors a year ago.
According to Zurab Pololikashvili, the Secretary-General of UNWTO, Bruges is not only “a beautiful city with an amazing history, but also an outstanding culinary destination. ”M. Pololikashvili is convinced that Bruges is the perfect host city for the 6th edition of the World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism. “As we celebrate the Year of Tourism and Rural Development, we are looking forward to meeting partners from all over the world in Bruges. We expect to exchange experiences and ideas about gastronomic tourism and find out how it can help preserve and promote local culture, and how it can act as a catalyst for job creation and sustainable growth.”