Kylie Chen, Founder and CEO
Kylie has spent numerous years living abroad leading tours across the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. She studied Business Strategy and International Development at the Marriott School of Management. Further, she attended the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge to study Social Innovation and Business Strategy and has lived in Portugal, India, and Malawi. Her international experience and love for authentic travel led her to found Acanela Expeditions, allowing individuals the opportunity to immerse themselves in hands-on cultural experiences around the world.
Each Acanela trip is designed around an artisan(s) in a developing nation. Our artisans include women with families who are battling against poverty, men who have lost their jobs due to disaster or disease, and individuals who have never had the opportunity to receive a formal education. These artists have incredible talents and abilities in diverse areas such as culinary arts, outdoor & adventure, art & design -- but lack the resources to share those talents with the world. Our mission is to discover these men and women, help them develop as individuals and artisans, and empower them to build their own sustainable business enterprises. Our boutique expeditions incorporate instructional classes and expert skills from our local artists, giving them a further means to monetize their skills.
Erik Wolf is the founder of the World Food Travel Association. He is a highly-sought speaker, thought leader, strategist and consultant, in the US and abroad, on food and drink tourism issues, and is considered the go-to food tourism industry resource for media outlets that include CNN, the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, NBC, Forbes, PeterGreenberg.com, Huffington Post, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and many more. Erik has consulted to leading global brands that have included American Express, Disney, Marriott and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. He has regularly advised cities, regions and countries, and organizations such as UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network gastronomy program and the UNWTO’s Gastronomy Network. His articles, research and books have been translated into dozens of languages.
In 2001, Erik Wolf wrote a white paper Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest. Just two short years later, he founded the organization known as the International Culinary Tourism Association. The Association rebranded in 2012 as the World Food Travel Association after research showed that English speakers misunderstood the intended meaning of "culinary tourism". Erik continues as the Association's Executive Director today.
The Association has always been at the forefront of education, research and trendspotting in the world's food and beverage tourism industry. In its first 10 years, the Association hosted international conferences and regional USA seminars and conferences. The Association also conducted the world's first global study about food travelers in 2007, which was updated and expanded in 2010, 2013 and 2016. In 2006, the original white paper from 2001 was updated and turned into a book, also called Culinary Tourism: The Hidden Harvest. Then in 2014, the Association published Have Fork Will Travel, a handbook for industry professionals that details over 50 interrelated components of our industry, and helps all kinds of professionals to understand what food and beverage tourism is, and how to benefit from participating in our industry.
Over the years, the Association has grown in its membership, scope of activities, and visibility. Today, they shepherd a community of nearly 50,000 professionals in 139 countries. They engage in four primary areas of activity, namely Education; Awards & Recognition; Research & Consulting; and Publishing. The Association is the go-to resource for writers, videographers, producers and bloggers around the world and has served many of the world’s major media outlets including the BBC, Newsweek, Business Week, CNN, Associated Press and Forbes. In our nearly 20 years, the World Food Travel Association has achieved leadership status and respect in food, beverage, tourism and hospitality circles world-wide.