From 5th to 7th of September 2019, successfully was carried the final event and International conference on Sustainable Food Tourism of the MEDFEST project in Tavira, Portugal. With more the 140 participants on the International Conference on Sustainable Food Tourism, this was a really fruitful and productive end of the MEDFEST project, which goal was to tackle the challenge of the traditional 'sun & sea' tourist destinations diversification, with new and sustainable products based on rich and renowned culinary heritage of the Mediterranean.
The final event of the MEDFEST project was a 3-day happening in the main city of the Mediterranean lifestyle and Diet - Tavira, Portugal. The first day of the event has started with the study visit, where all the participants had the opportunity to experience the created package “Were is it…? The best of the Mediterranean”. All the project partners and their stakeholders had visited the three experiences and activities integrated into the MEDFEST project by the Portugal team: “Ouinta Experience”, “Cork Factory” and “Cataplana for all”. On the second day, was held the final project steering and technical meeting where project progress overview and project closure procedures were presented and have given the examples for the capitalisation and future cooperation regarding the project.
The International Conference on Sustainable Food Tourism was held on the third day and it was the culmination of the 3-year common work of project partners from eight Mediterranean countries. The stunning Convent of Graça, Tavira was the focal point of the International Conference on Sustainable Food Tourism, with more than 140 experts organizations and guests from Mediterranean Europe, focusing on strengthening the sustainability of the tourism sector through their cultural heritage.Organized under the INTERREG MEDFEST project, on this conference were discussed the fundamental elements of Gastronomic Tourism as an activity generating territorial balance, local valorisation and affirmation of the cultural identity of the communities. The tools and methodologies developed during the last three years were shared and eight experiences of sustainable gastronomic tourism were presented, which should indeed inspire public policies for this sector and the emergence of new business initiatives in this sector. On the round table was discussed the strategies for integrating Sustainable Gastronomic Tourism into public and private agendas, with the participation of consultants Davor Šišović (Croatia), Vitor Sobral (Portugal), Domenico Lizzi (Italy), Murielle Bousquet (France), Silvia Aulet Serrallonga (Spain), In Koudoumas (Greece), Savvas Maliotis (Cyprus).
The International Conference on Sustainable Food Tourism was concluded with a gastronomic experience at "Ribeira Public Market", a space where a team of chefs, were exposing on five thematic "islands" (soups, fish , meat, desserts and fruit and wine) and where all the guests were taken on a tour to taste the flavors and know-how of the Mediterranean lifestyle, intangible cultural heritage of mankind (UNESCO). The last day of the 3-day happening was complemented with the VII Mediterranean Diet Fair, where all the local producers, organizations and handicrafts had been presenting their products in order to celebrate the Mediterranean way of life. In order to disseminate and communicate the outputs and created packages with tours, routes and culinary experiences of the MEDFEST project.