Association News

Harold Partain Wins First Food Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award

Today the World Food Travel Association presented the first ever Food Tourism Industry Lifetime Achievement Award to Harold D Partain, CTC, CCTP, founder and owner of Epicopia Culinary Journeys and Executive Director of McCabe Travel Group, based in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Harold is a long-time travel industry veteran. He started his career in 1973 at the Travel Service of America travel agency. He left there in 1984 for a position at Rudi Steele Travel, which was his workplace until 1991, when he left to found Exclusive Travel Designs, a boutique travel agency. In 1997, he moved to the Voyagers The Travel Store, before landing in his current position in 2001 as Executive Director of McCabe Travel Group.  Since 2006, he has also managed Epicopia Culinary Journeys, concurrent with his McCabe Travel position. Epicopia is a specialist culinary tour operator taking food lovers to experience the best flavors of Italy, which has always been Harold’s long-term passion.

For the World Food Travel Association, Harold helped to formulate our first Certified Culinary Travel Professional (CCTP) program, which launched in 2008. The program grew each year and had graduated nearly 1,000 professionals from all over the world before the CCTP was folded in 2018 into World Food Travel University, the larger education portfolio of the World Food Travel Association. Harold also regularly attended the Association’s annual summits in Canada and the United States, and was instrumental in driving many of the partnerships the Association enjoyed in its early days. Harold served on the Board of Directors of the World Food Travel Association from 2005-2015, and acted as its Board Chair from 2011-2015.

“Harold gave tirelessly of his time and knowledge to help build the World Food Travel Association that you now see today. It is with great pleasure and respect that we present this well-deserved award to Harold. He has been a long-term partner to the food travel industry and also to our Association,” said WFTA Executive Director Erik Wolf. “From the bottom of our hearts, we truly appreciate everything Harold has done for our Association. We raise a glass to you!”

For those of you who know Harold, everything Italian makes him smile. We look forward to sharing a bowl of pasta or gelato with you soon!


The Food Tourism Industry Lifetime Achievement Award is a prestigious recognition from the World Food Travel Association. The award was first introduced in 2020 to recognize exceptional individuals who have made profound, long-lasting contributions to the food and beverage tourism industry throughout their career. Individuals are nominated by other industry professionals and the Association’s leadership votes on applications received. Recipients are presented the award in person at the Association’s annual FoodTreX Innovation Summit. Applications for the 2021 Food Tourism Industry Lifetime Achievement Award will open in early 2021.


We’re all about firsts here at the World Food Travel Association. In fact, we have launched every “first” that our food tourism industry has seen – the first global food tourism trade conference, the first food tourism guidebook for a US state, the first food tourism guide for the entire USA, the first global research on culinary travel, the first market research profiles of food-loving travelers, the first food tourism handbook for professionals, the first food tourism trade podcast, the first online food travel trade summit, the first food travel industry awards, the first food tourism live “television” broadcast and now, the first food tourism industry lifetime achievement award. “The only source of knowledge is experience,” said Albert Einstein. You can count on us at the World Food Travel Association to leverage our experience and continue to innovate for you and our industry! Are you a member yet? If not,  join today our GastroTerra online community.

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Based mainly in Colorado. Loves cheese, rain, and starry nights. Can usually be spotted in the wild wearing a Spirit Jersey and balancing two cameras. Often laughs and cries at the same time. Barely survived one Master's program, but wants to do another.

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