Oranjestad to be next Culinary Capital of the Caribbean

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With great enthusiasm, minister Geoffrey Wever in charge of the revitalization of Oranjestad said that soon the process will start to obtain the title of Culinary Capital awarded under the international program World Food Travel Association, and afterwards for City of Gastronomy under the international UNESCO program, City of Gastronomy.

Such titles will surely put Aruba on the international map and attract new and exclusive visitors to the city center in Oranjestad. An exercise that must give our investors more commercial opportunity and make Oranjestad a new attraction for locals and tourists.

What precisely is a culinary capital and how will this create new opportunities? The World Food and Travel Association (WFTA), the main authority worldwide regarding gastronomic tourism, designed this new program launched in 2021 to help regenerate interest in destinations that are not well-known for their high-quality and authentic gastronomic products and experiences.

After the Covid pandemic, world destinations and all businesses are trying to innovate and prepare for economy after Covid. Saying this, minister Wever thinks that as the government of Aruba they also need to innovate and adapt to the world economy after Covid. The participation of the government is essential if we want to achieve the revitalizaiton of our city center, and applying for the status of Culinary Capital is a necessary action to innovate and create an elevated product Aruba. Aruba as a destination is one of two countries to recover fastest. However, our city center still has not managed to capitalize on the fruits of Aruba’s success as a tourist destination.

The process to arrive to the Culinary Capital title is tied to four essential criteria. These are culinary culture, culinary strategy, culinary promotion and culinary community – necessary criteria to determine if the destination has what is necessary to convert into a Culinary Capital. WFTA offers the accredited destinations a series of benefits including an entire year of marketing and strategy activities.

Culinary destinations that are more well-known like San Francisco, Hong Kong and Paris benefitted from such recognition, and WFTA wants to achieve this same success for countries less-known for their culinary authenticity. Small countries like Aruba, and specially our city center Oranjestad, need all the advantages offered by the Culinary Capital title. There is a pool of consumers of touristic products that travel specifically to destinations that offer a local and unique gastronomic experience, and these are the consumers that minister Geoffrey Wever wants to attract to our city center.