Gastrotourism for thriving islands

By Pille Laaksonen, Joint Secretariat
Published on 29.11.2022
Type of content: Story

In English

Project EPIG (Educating Professionals on Islands in GastroTourism) has partners from two islands – Åland Vocational School on Åland and Kuressaare Regional Training Center on Saaremaa (Estonia). Together the partners developed a gastrotourism study programme for vocational education. The curriculum includes five learning modules needed for preparing the students and enterprises for a new trend in tourism and restaurant industry that combines pleasure of travelling and eating. The essence of gastrotourism is to have a story to tell and to offer high quality local food. And of course, it is important to market the possibilities so that there are customers who would want to enjoy these experiences.

A well planned and highly island-focused curriculum will be an improvement for both islands. In the beginning of the project, the partners analysed the needs of tourism and gastronomy sectors in Åland and Saaremaa. A survey and interviews were carried out among the representatives of relevant companies and other stakeholders to find out what kind of knowledge is needed to improve gastrotourism on islands. The course is based on the results of the analysis and takes into account the needs of the tourism and gastronomy sectors.

During the EPIG final event between 15-17.09.2022 on Åland, students, teachers and other stakeholders analysed together the new 10 ECTS gastrotourism curriculum and made plans how to get it into use in Saaremaa and Åland. In addition, participants visited several tourist destinations during Åland Harvest festival and learned how local farmers produce and market their products. The experience from visiting local producers was analysed and used in final tuning of the curriculum.