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Culinary Tour Operator Certification


Available to all existing or aspiring food and beverage tour operators anywhere in the world.

Course Description

Food tours are all the rage. Travelers are demanding more and more of them, and companies are rushing to meet that demand. However, not all companies are well prepared to plan and deliver successful food or beverage tours. There are myriad factors that can make a good tour great, and many others that can ruin a tour. You need to know about all these factors to increase your chances of success. This certification is divided into 3 modules or phases to prepare you and your culinary tour company to develop and deliver any kind of food or beverage tour. Suitable company types include food tours, gourmet tours, special diet tours (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.), chocolate tours, cheese tours, farm tours, wine tours, beer tours, distillery tours, cider tours, juice tours and food/drink production factory tours. Suitable for companies offering tours of any duration, from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks.

Note that this certification covers the components of developing and managing a culinary tour company. While this certification does talk a bit about culinary tour development, consider enrolling in one of our culinary tourist guide certifications for much more detail about culinary tour development.

The certification is relevant for different types of tours and tour companies as well, including receptive/inbound tours; international tours; local and regional tours; city tours; country tours; corporate tours; and other sectors like adventure but which offer a quality food/beverage experience. Available to all food and beverage tour operators anywhere in the world.

Major Course Update August 2020

We made some major improvements to the tour operator certification, based on participant feedback. 

  • Three phases of training. The program provides beginning and intermediate phase training, and an advanced phase/final certification. Your single enrollment fee covers all phases. If you are a newer operator, you can get the training you need to build a stable foundation in the beginning and intermediate phases. If you are an experienced tour operator, you can proceed directly to the final phase and save time.
    • Beginning - introduction to culinary tour operations
      • What is Food Tourism
      • Understanding the Benefits of Food Tourism
      • Are Culinary Tours Right for You?
      • Your USP: What Makes Culinary Tours Special
      • Create a Road Map for Your Company
      • Designing Culinary Tours That Sell
      • Building Your Team
      • Culinary Tour Marketing Basics
    • Intermediate - more detailed knowledge about culinary tour operations
      • Getting to Know Culinary Travelers Better
      • Meeting and Exceeding Food-Loving Traveler Expectations
      • Improving Your Marketing Strategies
      • Managing Culinary Tourist Guides
      • Improving Vendor Relationships
      • Diversifying Your Product Portfolio
      • Culinary Tour Company Customer Service
      • Scaling Your Food Tour Company
    • Advanced - final phase, assessment & validation
      • Bonus Resources & Downloads
      • Final Knowledge Test
      • Essay Interview
      • Business Validation
      • Publicity & Marketing
  • Everything is included (regardless of your level of experience). Some culinary tour operators need more in-depth training and are not quite ready to get certified, while others do not want any of the basic training and wish to proceed to the final certification phase. No matter what your need, we have you covered. And there is no extra cost for the additional background/ beginning and intermediate phases.
  • More content, better organized. The total amount of training time (videos, tests, instructor meetings and optional content) has been expanded considerably. Also content has been divided into 3 phases (beginning, intermediate and final) to help you target exactly where you need to begin, based on your experience.
  • Better video controls. English language closed captions. Slow down the playback speed if you prefer. Expand video to full screen if you prefer.
  • Better instructor access. Do you need a quick call with your instructor? Or detailed help by email? We've increased our instructor's availability so you can get the help you need, when you need it.
  • Expanded examination phase.  The previous test has been expanded into a more comprehensive written test, and now an oral interview is also required. If you do not test well "on paper" then you can try to express yourself better in the oral interview.
  • Strict company verification. For the final certification in the last phase, tour operators are now required to provide a copy of their tour operator's license and proof of insurance.
  • New benefits. Culinary tour operators that successfully complete the certification program will receive a full year premium level listing on our brand new World Food Travel Market platform (€299 value) at no extra cost.

Learning Objectives

  • Discover whether a culinary tour company is the right choice for you.
  • Learn how to design culinary tours that sell.
  • Learn how to market and sell culinary tours to different types of food lovers.
  • Understand who buys food and beverage tours.
  • Understand the operational issues that culinary tour operators face.
  • Understand how to overcome important challenges that tour operators face.
  • Discover various technology tools that can ease your workload and save you money.
  • Understand how to scale your culinary tour company.


  • For phases one and two, anyone is welcome to enroll. You do not necessarily need to be working yet for a culinary tour company to take these modules.  You might eventually want to own or manage a culinary tour company, or possibly develop products or do marketing for one. The program is designed to train you to excel in these types of roles.
  • (* see below) We understand that not everyone might be ready to proceed with the third and final phase of certification. While the normal course expiration is after 45 days, anyone who successfully completes modules 1 and 2 can come back at any time within 180 days (6 months) to proceed with module 3 (the final certification phase). There is no extra cost to reactivate your training if you completed modules 1 and 2 already. Like with modules 1 and 2, you will have 45 days to complete the final module 3.
  • For phase three, which is the final examination and assessment phase, you will need to already be a licensed tour operator in the area where you operate culinary tours. You must also have appropriate insurance in place as a culinary tour operator by the time you finish your certification training. You will be asked to provide evidence in the form of a copy of your tour operator license and insurance certificate. Both documents must be legal valid (not expired) at the time you graduate. We cannot graduate you from the certification program until you can provide these two documents.

Course Features

  • 7 total training videos (total video time just over 3 hours)
  • 2 mid-program quizzes
  • 1 final comprehensive written examination
  • 1 final comprehensive oral examination
  • Operator license and insurance documents verification
  • Unlimited instructor meetings/questions as required
  • English language video recordings with closed caption English-language subtitles
  • Total learning time for a native English speaker is about 6 hours (add a little more based on your level of comfort with English)
  • Once enrolled, you’ll have 45 calendar days to complete the program


What You Get After Graduating

  • 12.0 course credits
  • Completion Certificate (print yourself and frame for your office)
  • Full year premium level listing for your culinary tour company on our brand new World Food Travel Market platform (€299 value). At the end of your first year, you can pay the current annual fee to continue your listing, or upgrade or downgrade your listing as you wish. Whatever you choose, your first year on the Market platform is included in your enrollment fee.
  • A larger version of the digital badge below for your website:

Your Overall Certification Benefits

  • Differentiate yourself from your competition
  • Get the recognition you deserve
  • Gain valuable marketing visibility
  • Join the ranks of the top food tourism guides and tour operators around the world
  • Understand better your target market
  • Likelihood to make more sales
  • Get inspiration to innovate

Terms & Conditions

The certification is awarded to an individual working in a specific tour company. If you complete the Certified Culinary Tour Operator program and then move on to a different company, the new company will still need to be re-certified before you can use the Certified Culinary Tour Operator designation again. Your company can only use the Certified Culinary Tour Operator designation and logo as long as it has at least one employee who has completed this certification training offered by the World Food Travel Association. Also when you leave a company, that company's listing on World Food Travel Market will be deactivated until it graduates another employee through this Certified Culinary Tour Operator program.

Here is the course outline:

1. Getting Started

Here is what you can expect during your certification training.

2. Getting Started With Food Tours [Module 1]

Training videos for Module 1.

3. Improving Your Food Tour Operations [Module 2]

Training videos for module 2.

4. Bonus Resources & Downloads

Additional bonus resources to round out your learning experience.

5. Final Knowledge Test

Comprehensive test covering what you learned in the training so far.

6. Essay Interview

Required essay interview

7. Business Validation

Begin this section when you are ready to validate your business credentials as the the final step of your culinary tour operator certification.

8. Publicity and Marketing

Learn about the exciting ways we promote your Certified Culinary Tour Operator status.

9. Program Review

Let us know how we did.. When you are done, you will see a popup window where you can download your PDF diiploma.


The following certificates are awarded when the course is completed:

Tour Operators
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