By Rachel Sacco, President & CEO, Experience Scottsdale
AAA anticipates 22 million Americans will take culinary-driven vacations in 2017. The World Food Travel Association says 95 percent of travelers are interested in foodie travel experiences. Travel research publication Skift calls dining the “main event,” all due to the “(Anthony) Bourdain effect.”
With all that in mind, can you blame us for getting in on the food and beverage game? This month, Experience Scottsdale will promote Scottsdale’s culinary story on a new website, desertdishscottsdale.com.
Cuisine continues to be a major hook in travel and trip planning, as evidenced by research conducted in conjunction with Experience Scottsdale’s rebranding efforts, which revealed “great restaurants” is the top motivator for travel.
Another thing we learned during our research is that consumers gave Scottsdale some of its poorest ratings for “great restaurants” and “exciting nightlife.” As Scottsdale-area residents and employees, we know that to be the furthest thing from the truth.
Scottsdale is home to nearly 800 restaurants, from hidden gems like Craft 64 to resort standouts like Talavera at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North. Our downtown has nearly 80 bars and lounges, where mixologists are crafting inspired libations at spots like Counter Intuitive and Second Story Liquor Bar. And Scottsdale is chock-full of innovative chefs, from acclaimed chef Gio Osso of Virtù Honest Craft to Food Network star Beau MacMillan, executive chef at elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa.
Desert Dish Scottsdale will help elevate our culinary story and inspire, educate and compel audiences to travel to Scottsdale specifically for cuisine and cocktail offerings like these. To do so, Experience Scottsdale is partnering with the minds behind the locally owned and operated Bite Magazine to produce thoughtful and inspiring articles and videos for the website.
We’ll touch on the trends relevant to culinary tourism. According to Skift, the majority of Americans identify with casual food, craft beer, food markets and food festivals. Craft beer enthusiasts especially are a growing demographic of niche travelers who explore brewpubs, local breweries, beer trails and beer-related events. Of course, we’ll direct those travelers to our budding ale trail in downtown Scottsdale, where they can sample brews at Goldwater Brewing, Sip Coffee and Beer House, Two Brothers Brewing and more.
In addition to round-ups focusing on the latest trends in dining and nightlife fare, we’ll profile standout individual chefs, restaurants, ingredients and dishes; we’ll curate a directory of restaurants, food tours, and bars; we’ll highlight culinary events from farmers’ markets to food festivals; and we’ll share the latest buzz about Scottsdale in outlets like Food & Wine and Bon Appétit.
Although the Scottsdale area has had a strong culinary scene for years, this website will help raise awareness with our consumers who are actively seeking this type of information. With desertdishscottsdale.com, we hope to help visitors access, navigate and explore Scottsdale’s extensive – and delicious – dining scene.
Rachel Sacco is the president and CEO of Experience Scottsdale, which is responsible for marketing the Scottsdale area as a premier travel and meetings destination to national and international leisure visitors, travel agents, tour operators and meeting planners.