100 Years of Advancing Destinations

The Destination & Travel Foundation to Recognize the James Beard Foundation with the 2014 Spirit of Hospitality Award

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The Destination & Travel Foundation has selected the James Beard Foundation as the recipient of the 2014 Spirit of Hospitality Award. The award is the highest recognition presented annually to individuals and organizations that show exceptional dedication and commitment to the travel and tourism industry. The James Beard Foundation joins a distinguished community of past recipients which includes Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, American Express and the Travel Channel.

The James Beard Foundation's mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor America's diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. A cookbook author and teacher, James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today the Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by offering events and programs designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and foster a deeper understanding of our culinary culture.

In the 20 year history of the award, this is the first time a culinary organization will be recognized, acknowledging the strong bond between food, restaurants and travel. Culinary tourism has grown into one of the most dynamic and creative segments of tourism. Many destination marketing organizations have created partnerships with chefs, restaurants and food tours to help tell their stories and market their communities around the world. According to the Global Report on Food Tourism from the UN World Tourism Organization, 88% of destinations consider gastronomy a strategic element in defining the brand and image of their destination.

“As a partner in the Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Initiative and its America Chef Corp, the James Beard Foundation is at the forefront of recognizing the power of dining and culinary arts as one of the most important tools of diplomacy from a national, international and local perspective,” said Craig Davis, CDME, Chair of the Destination & Travel Foundation. He added, “They have been a pioneer in shining a light on the best culinary talent in regions around the country, connecting travelers with real local cultures, flavors and experiences in destinations.”

“James Beard was known for his culinary travels. The first place he wanted to visit when he got to a new city or country was their farmers markets. He believed you got to understand the flavor of a place through taste," said Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation. "The James Beard Foundation is thrilled and humbled to be the recipient of the 2014 Spirit of Hospitality Award. Just as our namesake often said, we believe that 'Food is our common ground.'”   

The award will be presented February 11, 2014 during the 21st Annual Destination & Travel Foundation Dinner & Dream Auction in Washington, DC.


The Destination & Travel Foundation is a complementary organization to Destination Marketing Association International. The mission is to enhance the destination marketing and travel professions through research, education, visioning and development of resources and partnerships for those efforts. The Destination & Travel Foundation is classified as a charitable organization, under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1954. Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible as charitable contributions.