Bernard De MYTTENAERE
Institute of Environmental Management and Regional Planning
the Free University of Brussels.
By means of an exploratory and comparative study focusing on the three rural destinations in Wallonia (Chimay, Orval and Rochefort), we have put forward reflections on the role and influence of gastronomic confraternities, both as actors in local economic and tourist development and in terms of their leadership capacity. By means of this exploratory research, we are not seeking to analyse the effectiveness or economic performance generated by the activities of the gastronomic confraternities, but rather to show the opportunities they offer for local actors to form and gain access to such networks. After having identified the many reasons and advantages to local actors of joining a gastronomic confraternity, we will try to understand why some of them do not seem to be interested in local actors, whereas others draw attract members of the local economic, political and social elites.