Americans Will Fly for Food, According to OpenTable Survey

Two-thirds of Americans report that a destination's cuisine drives their travel choices By: Mindy Poder
U.S. travelers say they choose destinations based on culinary offerings. // © 2017 Getty Images
U.S. travelers say they choose destinations based on culinary offerings. // © 2017 Getty Images

The Details

"Will Fly For Food" report
www.willflyforfood.opentable.com

What:
The “Will Fly For Food” report from online restaurant reservations company OpenTable has found that two-thirds of Americans would select a travel destination based solely on its culinary offerings, and 52 percent have already traveled to the country of origin of their favorite cuisine.

Why It Matters:
When you’re helping clients narrow down their dream vacation destination, do you mention what an average day — in meals — would look like? And when you’re promoting a certain cruise ship, tour or destination, do you share photos of the local food, insights about the dining culture and other tidbits that could whet the appetite? If yes, you’re onto something — and, if not, survey says it’s time to get cooking. 

Fast Facts:
- A majority of those surveyed (58 percent) “significantly” associate a destination’s culture with its culinary scene and dining customs.

- Eight in 10 Americans prioritize restaurants that offer “authentic, local flavors.”

- Nearly 90 percent of respondents say they feel more inclined to make adventurous ordering decisions when traveling for leisure. 

- Seventy-five percent of Americans have booked a dining reservation in advance of a leisure trip.

- The surveyed named Paris as the No. 1 dream dining destination, followed (in order) by Florence, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; New Orleans; New York City; Tokyo; Bangkok; San Francisco; Madrid; and Chicago.

What They Are Saying:
“Americans are redefining their travel bucket lists not by where they want to go, but by what they want to eat,” said Caroline Potter, chief dining officer for OpenTable. “While traveling, they’re also not afraid to experiment with local cuisine and make more adventurous dining decisions.”

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