Riyadh: The International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) today announced the win of Aseer Region with the title of "World Region of Gastronomy 2024" as the first non-European region to receive the accolade that is granted to regions that joined the platform and met standards developed by the institute through culinary to develop the sustainable regional development, where Aseer is now waiting to be crowned with the title by IGCAT President Diane Dodd in an official ceremony to be held in Italian Torino City on September 24.

This title followed huge efforts led by the Saudi Culinary Arts Commission with the participation of several partners, including the Aseer Development Authority, Soudah Development Company, Bunyan for Training, Restaurants and Cafes Association (Qoot), Heritage Commission, Saudi Tourism Authority, King Khalid University, Saudi Tourism Society, Saudi Heritage Preservation Society, Abha Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Environment Development Society (Faseel), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Beekeepers Cooperative Association, and the Social Development Committee in Abha.

This win follows a visit by IGCAT jury to the region between February 27 and March 1, 2022 and meeting local stakeholders to assess the preparations of Aseer to hold the title, where the visit reflected the region's efforts in supporting local cultural and food diversity and its efforts to ensure regional biological diversity and environment preservation, in addition to maintaining traditional heritage and know-how, and enabling young generation to innovate new products and services to attract sustainable tourism.

The jury commended the welcoming spirits of the local community in Aseer and their true readiness to display and share their local food and culture, where the jury noted that the pride of chefs, farmers, producers, young entrepreneurs, guides and their love to their heritage and traditions made Aseer an ideal global region for gastronomy for 2024.

This win will yield several benefits to the region and the local community, including highlighting the distinguished cultural and food origins for the region at the international level through displaying the traditional ways of cooking, raising awareness of food issues at a wider scope for a healthy and sustainable life through educational programs, enhancing projects aiming at engaging the local community, contributing to protecting the environment and the biodiversity, limiting one-use plastic materials, stimulating regional stakeholders for development, where this win will also help build a regional identity for the region, increase the value of local community and the food culture, in addition to supporting the economy through encouraging funding from the public and private sectors, and improving the quality of products and hospitality in the region to enhance sustainable tourism.