New independent research, commissioned by Tourism Research Australia and Tourism Western Australia, shows an increased focus on culinary tourism is in line with visitor trends and expectations.
The research found more than one million domestic visitors to Western Australia last year actively sought out food and wine experiences or determined where they were going to stay, based on the culinary experiences available.
Tourism WA CEO Stephanie Buckland said the results were encouraging and presented significant opportunities for tourism operators, as well as food and beverage producers.
“Our goal is to grow the value of tourism in Western Australia to $12 billion by 2020 and offering culinary experiences certainly has a big part to play in that”, Ms. Buckland said.
“The research shows tourists are attracted to local and authentic produce in beautiful surroundings.
“This describes WA to a tee from truffles in Manjimup to barramundi in Broome, small bars in Perth, bush tucker tours in the South West and everything in between.”
Culinary events also receive a big tick. One of the most successful examples is the Margaret River Gourmet Escape which last year attracted world renowned chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Rick Stein and delivered almost $10.5 million in economic impact for the region.
Tourism Australia’s latest campaign, Restaurant Australia, showcases Australia as a foodie’s holiday haven. WA features in the advertising and the WA campaign launch will be held in East Perth next week.
Additionally, Ms. Buckland said Tourism WA was close to launching a food and wine tourism strategy which outlines ways to build on WA’s culinary credentials.
“The purpose of this strategy is to enhance the positioning of Western Australia as an extraordinary destination to experience gourmet produce, fresh seafood, premium wines and boutique beverages such as craft beers, cider and spirits,” Ms. Buckland said.
“Tourism generated $7.7 billion dollars in visitor spending in WA last year, supporting 91,000 jobs for West Australians.
“A dedicated food and wine tourism strategy will help build on those numbers, contributing to the economic future of our State.”