The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tourism division announced the release of the 2016 state culinary guide, Georgia Eats. Georgia Tourism’s second annual culinary guide features the wildly popular “100 Plates Locals Love,” 10 flavor tours, inspiring feature stories, exclusive recipes from local chefs, popular food festivals and much more.
Now more than ever, travelers are looking for fresh, authentic culinary experiences and the Georgia Eats culinary guide is a great tool that will give visitors access to all that Georgia has to offer. Because of our flavorful crops that are as diverse as the state itself, Georgia has unique culinary experiences that make the “Peach State” a leading culinary destination for visitors.From farm-to-table dining, food festivals, cooking schools, award-winning wineries, agritoursim trails, talented local chefs, u-pick farms, shrimping boat excursions and much more, Georgia is home to many noteworthy and distinctive flavors that make it a popular culinary destination.
“Culinary tourism has been on the rise over the last few years as consumers are looking for unique food and beverage experiences while traveling,” said Kevin Langston, deputy commissioner for tourism at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Georgia offers visitors unique culinary experiences in every corner of the state making it easy for visitors and locals to taste the many flavors of Georgia with locally grown products, award-winning local chefs, notable food festivals and much more.”
In 2012, it was estimated that tourism expenditures on food services in the U.S. topped $201 billion, nearly a quarter of all travel income. Making food services the highest category of tourism spending, according to the University of Florida report: “A Flash of Culinary Tourism.” The report also estimates that 39 million U.S. leisure travelers chose a destination based on the availability of culinary activities, while another 35 million sought out culinary activities after deciding on a destination.
Georgia Tourism created “100 Plates Locals Love” as a way to provide visitors with locally sourced suggestions, the same way we would recommend restaurants to our family and friends. Chefs and restaurants across the state have access to Georgia’s rich and flavorful bounty, enticing them to create unique dishes that showcase local produce and products. Nearly 600 “plates” were nominated via Explore
The nominations were collected in November 2015 and evaluated by a panel of judges, who selected the second annual list of “100 Plates Locals Love” featuring local favorite dishes from across the state. The Georgia Eats culinary guide is available at the state’s 12 Visitor Information Centers across the state and on the state’s consumer tourism website ExploreGeorgia.org.
Georgia’s culinary initiative focuses on showcasing the state’s authentic experiences around the state. Georgia Tourism created a new culinary landing page on www.ExploreGeorgia.org/dining. Georgia’s official Culinary Explorer Jennifer Booker also shares regular blog posts via Explore
The second annual Georgia Restaurant Week will take place July 18-24 at participating restaurants throughout Georgia. During this week-long event, patrons, both local and from out of state, will be able to explore the numerous dining options throughout Georgia for a special price and sample locally grown products that are available in Georgia’s restaurants.