Famed restaurant guide turns travel agency

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Michelin, the tire firm famed for its hotel and restaurant guides, recently announced it is to offer food-themed vacation packages.

Last week, Michelin launched a new "experience" brand called Michelin Food & Travel, in conjunction with niche tour operator Roadtrips Inc, which will allow gastronomes behind-the-scenes access to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Michelin says that its guests will be able to participate in private kitchen demonstrations, sample the wares of local food artisans and take part in wine tastings, truffle hunts and other culinary experiences.

As guests are free to wholly customize their itineraries, choosing dates, destinations and hotels in conjunction with Roadtrips Inc, the company charges a "Trip Planning Fee" to begin the planning process, which goes towards the final trip fee on booking.

The initial program has launched in France, although destinations in Italy, England and wider Europe and Asia are expected to be added shortly.

“Michelin has long been dedicated to enhancing the joy of mobility and improving the travel experience with our unrivaled collection of maps and guides,” said Parmeet Grover, chief operating officer of the company’s travel and lifestyle division in North America.

“The Michelin Food & Travel concept enables us to take the next step into experiential travel."

Providing an easy way to book featured experiences is likely to be popular with discerning Michelin guide buyers and is seen as a valuable revenue source for publishers.

In 2009, high-end UK travel publication Condé Nast Traveller announced a similar tie-up with travel booker Travel Intelligence, allowing the magazine's readers easy access to the properties featured.

LUXE City Guides has operated its own Hotels & Villas Collection, allowing readers of its guides to book its top-end properties, for several years.