Get ready for the new Saimaa 2024 revolution!

Get ready for the new Saimaa 2024 revolution!

12 December 2023 – Included in National Geographic’s Cool List 2024 and listed by The Wall Street Journal among the top destinations Where to Find the Most Stunning Fall FoliageSaimaa region is definitely the place to be next year, when they will celebrate their title as European Region of Gastronomy 2024!

An official calendar of events will soon be available on the Taste Saimaa website, detailing projects and initiatives that will take place in the region throughout the year. The aim is to increase the offer of new food and culture related events and festivals in all seasons, especially in the spring and winter, by launching new initiatives, as well as improve existing ones.

Through the Award, Saimaa aims to trigger “a new revolution to strengthen the region as a vibrant, sustainable and attractive destination, well known for its food and culture,” affirmed Sari Kaasinen, coordinator of Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy 2024.

“We want the region to be an inspiring travel destination for artists, entrepreneurs, visitors, tourists and locals, with innovative food and cultural routes, services and products that can be easily found and purchased,” she concluded.

Ambitious goals that will be reached by fully engaging the local community and fostering new exciting collaborations between different local stakeholders, as the region has been doing in the past few preparation years. Among them, the constantly growing Taste Saimaa Partner network, currently including over 80 local businesses in the agri-food and hospitality sector who signed up to support and give visibility to the local products and culture. Or the Taste Saimaa Events label, open to events organised in the region that combine food, tourism, art and culture, and nurture brand-new collaborations between them. Six new event cooperations and three new routes have already been piloted in 2023, gathering more than 6000 visitors.

An official Opening Ceremony for Saimaa, European Region of Gastronomy 2024 will be held on 2-4 February in Lappeenranta including an international seminar with high-profile speakers, an opening gala, as well as the award ceremony for IGCAT’s international competition to find the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers.

Finally, in order to nurture collaboration with the other members of the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform, Saimaa has launched an international open call for The Saimaa Culinary and Culture Residency – Urban meets Rural to host artists and chefs from the other World/European Regions of Gastronomy to work together in special locations throughout the region.

About the European/World Regions of Gastronomy

Candidate and awarded World/European Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to strengthen food security through the celebration of distinctive food cultures; create employment by stimulating creativity and gastronomic innovation; nourish children and adults through culinary and cultural education; drive environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; support balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlight and support expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practises; and contribute to community health and well-being.


IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to protect and promote distinct regional food, culture, arts and natural assets as part of sustainable and balanced tourism and development strategies. This is essential to safeguard our planet, health, wellness and local economies.

IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. It counts on the expertise of a worldwide network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.

IGCAT founded the World/European Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World/European Regions of Gastronomy Platforms. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the World Food Gift Challenge, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers Award and the international Food Film Menu.