Culinary tourism, USI Master thesis leads to a report by the European Travel Commission

A typical Ticino
A typical Ticino "grotto" in Ponte Brolla, near Locarno

Institutional Communication Service

23 November 2020

The rise in interest in food tourism over the past decade coincides with the emergence of new ways of communicating and sharing experiences. The use of social media, websites and apps adds to the tourist’s experience at the destination, allowing them to contribute to the development of the experience and to communicate it informally to their peers. The subject communication and gastronomy is the focus of the Master's thesis written by Benedetta Brambilla, a graduate at the USI Master in International Tourism, which has been adopted in a report of the European Travel Commission (ETC).

Communication of Gastronomy on ETC Members’ Official Websites is the title of the ETC report that analyses the phenomenon of food tourism  and examines how different ETC member countries - which include Switzerland - communicate online the presence of food tourism attractions at the destination to prospect tourists. This is the third report written in collaboration between ETC and the USI UNESCO Chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in the World Heritage Sites.

"This analysis gives credit not only to our Master's graduate, but also to USI and its Master in International Tourism, thus confirming the interdisciplinary skills that define its study curriculum", comments Dr. Nadzeya Kalbaska, lecturer and researcher at the USI Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society and second reader of Benedetta Brambilla's thesis.

Gastronomy is an important element of a destination's identity. It is part of its intangible cultural heritage, which, according to the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, also includes "social customs, ritual and festive events" and "traditional craftsmanship".

"In my thesis I observed how DMOs (Destination Management Organisations) in Europe do not fully consider food tourism as a type of tourism offer by itself, preferring to present it in conjunction with other types of tourism", explains Bendetta. "This can mean, for some countries, that there is no interest in promoting the destination as a enogastronomic one; for others, that even if the food tourism offers are present on the territory, the different links necessary to make it a comprehensive national tourism offer are not present or well developed nation-wide or even locally".

In April, Benedetta Brambilla was interviewed by RSI about her Master's thesis dissertation which, due to the lockdown, took place online.  >>


Established in 1948, the European Travel Commission is a unique association in the travel sector, representing the National Tourism Organisations of the countries of Europe. Its mission is to strengthen the sustainable development of Europe as a tourist destination. Switzerland is a member of the ETC with its national DMO Switzerland Toursim.

The previous two reports jointly produced by ETC and the USI UNESCO Chair are: