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On Thursday (July 12) I was fortunate enough to be one of the invitees to the Hi Southern Tourism Meeting session on Tourism and Gastronomy (quite an honour, as I was, as far as I know, the only non-Spanish person present), a recognition of the growing importance of food tourism to both these sectors.

The venue was in what is now the Carriage Museum (since 1999), which was built during the 16-17th centuries as a Carmelite convent, and later served as the seat of the Spanish-Cuban Institute of History. Once a landmark, it was overshadowed by the apartment blocks of Los Remedios in the 1940s.

The event was hosted by local newspaper, the ABC, and introductions were made by editor Javier Rubio. The first presentation was given by Marcos Tarancón, of the Fundación Cruzcampo, showing their project to convert the old Cruzcampo factory in Nervión into a new tourist attraction for the city with cafés, restaurants and a large open garden space. The second was by Irene de Castro for Gonzalez Byass and the V Tio Pepe Festival, coming up in August at their bodega in Jerez.

This was followed by two round table discussions chaired by Isabel Aguilar of GURME.es, the first featuring local restauranteurs Juanlu Dorado (Cañabota), Juan Gómez (La Azotea), and Gonzalo Jurado (Tradevo) on the challenges of operating in a city with large numbers of tourists, and the second with Benjamin Lana of Madrid Fusión and Iñigo Iribarnegaray of San Sebastián Gastronómika, two cities that have become well known for food tourism.

Afterwards there was an opportunity to meet some of the participants, and other friends in the hospitality industry, over snacks and coffee.

Thanks as always to ABC Sevilla and sponsors of the event (CaixaBank, City Expert, CitySightseeing, Fundación Cruzcampo, MA Abogados) for a useful and interesting morning.

Also posted on Azahar Sevilla