Western Australia will be expanding its culinary event tourism for the future, beginning with the return of the Margaret River Gourmet Escape next year.
The event will be back for a seventh year, with the sponsorship contract with event owner IMG Culinary renewed for 12 months.
“Margaret River Gourmet Escape has helped grow the brand of our beautiful South-West and cemented the State’s reputation as a culinary destination,” tourism minister Paul Papalia said.
The end of the current three-year agreement will enable the state government to review WA’s investment in food and wine event tourism to expand the festival to bring the Swan Valley to the festival.
The review will involve a consultation with stakeholders followed by a Request for Proposal process, including the food and wine industry, tourism operators, local producers and the community.
It will help determine the final specifications for the new event.
“The State Government decided it was the right time to explore opportunities to grow efforts in food and wine event tourism and maximise outcomes for the State,” Mr Papalia said.
“It gives us the chance to look at expanding and extending the festival to feature not only the South-West but also the Swan Valley.”
He said the events would boost the state’s tourism as well as international trade.
“The McGowan Government understands the values of events in supporting the State’s tourism outcomes, but we need to ensure these events drive interstate and international visitation in order to fill our hotel rooms, grow the economy and create jobs,” he said.
“We also want a clear strategy for food and wine festivals that enhances our trade and agricultural export outcomes. We want to ensure that the high-quality local food and wine at these events is readily available to be served on tables in China, Singapore, Japan and other key markets.”
Regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan said WA’s reputation for fresh produce, premium wines and high-quality boutique beverages made WA “a foodie’s paradise” through its food and wine festivals.
“Margaret River Gourmet Escape has helped cement that reputation.”
“We are keen to extend the festival over a longer period and spread activities across other food and wine destinations to attract higher interstate and international visitation.”