Culinary tourism is growing exponentially. Food and tourism marketing consultant Holly Galbraith had been watching this growth and saw a gap in the market for a culinary tourism conference. Not a woman to stand still, Holly launched Destination Food. The inaugural event took place at Sydney Museum yesterday, bringing together key players in Australia’s food tourism industry.

Holly says the rise of culinary tourism has “birthed enormous creativity and opportunity for travel and food businesses across Australia, as operators compete for a share of the foodie travel dollar”.

To help tap into this, she held the country’s first Destination Food conference yesterday where delegates heard from local and international speakers focusing on multiple aspects of culinary tourism.

Holly-Galbraith

Holly Galbraith

Tourism Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson told delegates, that for many travellers, participating in memorable food and drink experiences was a prime motivator for travel.

“Food and wine are absolutely critical to the way we position Australia overseas, particularly for the high-value traveller.”

Tourism Australia’s Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Ronson.

Lisa told delegates that Tourism Australia took a strong food and wine focus back in 2013 after learning about overseas visitors’ perception of Australia’s food culture.

LisaRonson

Lisa Ronson

Those who had been to Australia ranked Australian food and wine experiences second to only France, while those hadn’t travelled here ranked Australia 8th in the world for quality food and wine experiences.

Since then Tourism Australia launched Restaurant Australia, hosted The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and screened the winning Superbowl ad this year which had a food and wine element to it.

“People, produce and place are the key things we bring to life,” Lisa said.

Lisa said food and wine tourism trends that were hot right now included culinary heritage.

“Consumers are really interested in the history of where they’re going and the experiences that they’re having,” she said.

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Wellness food experiences are also trending with guests wanting holidays where they can get the balance between great food and some exercise.

Outside dining is another trend she pointed to.

“Some of the things we take for granted like sitting at Cottesloe Beach with fish and chips it blows people’s minds.

Going forward Tourism Australia is planning “fewer, bigger more impactful”  campaigns “which cut through the clutter”.

“We are continuing to look at interesting and impactful ways of telling our food and wine stories,” Lisa concluded.

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Have you seen a rise in culinary tourism among your clients? Let us know below.