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South Australia a top destination for Food & Wine

Friday, Aug 8, 2014

While many of us still to go on holiday to relax, enjoy good weather and take in the sights of somewhere new, a growing number of us are keen to make the local food and wine a key feature of our stay.

Whether you want to take part in a residential cookery course, watch food demonstrations, tour vineyards, explore the local food markets or sample traditional dishes in a range of eateries, these options and more are now available. What’s more, South Australia is an ideal area to enjoy a culinary break and there is a big drive to attract more tourists to the area who want a holiday focused on food and wine.

Culinary tourism benefits everyone

Food and wine tourism benefits both the local area and visitors alike. This tourism sector provides additional income to help farmers and small producers support their businesses, often by diversifying their activities, whether creating new products, offering educational experiences or providing farm stays1. The boost to farming and local food production that this brings benefits the local economy and the local job market too. Meanwhile, whether you just have a new-found interest in food and wine or you already have a lot of culinary experience, a trip focused on learning about the local cuisine, trying your hand at making these dishes and sampling the local wines has a lot to offer everyone2. By getting to see elements of food production first hand and getting stuck in yourself, this offers you a much richer experience, as the sights, smells and tastes will stay with you and encourage you to put what you have learnt into practice when you get back home. That can include anything from recreating the recipes you picked up to supporting local food producers.

Experiencing food tourism for yourself

With a diversity of food and wine experiences to choose from, how you decide to enjoy what South Australia has to offer is very much down to your own preferences. While you can arrange an organised tour, which includes all your accommodation and culinary experiences, so you don’t need to arrange a thing, you may find that part of the fun is putting together your own itinerary. The latter offers you flexibility to mix and match what you experience, so one morning you might explore a local food market, sampling produce, watching demonstrations or even taking part in a class3, while you might spend the afternoon visiting a vineyard. If you arrange you own itinerary, you may decide to include some organised elements during your stay, as the extra knowledge that you can gain on a guided tour can enrich your experience4.

Increasing food tourism in South Australia

For the past five years, a joint venture between the South Australia Tourism Commission and the food and wine industries geared towards tourism in South Australia has aimed to boost the profile of the area as a leading destination for culinary tourism5. While research showed South Australia as known for its quality wines and authentic wineries, the state was behind Victoria in terms of a food and wine destination and behind both New South Wales and Victoria as a destination to enjoy regional produce and unique dining experiences. A food and wine strategy was therefore developed to raise South Australia’s profile as a top place to enjoy culinary experiences. These strategies included communicating the diversity of food tourism experiences available in the state, developing experiences that are even more appealing, making these experiences accessible to tourists and forging stronger links between those of us working in food and wine tourism.

More recently a new advertising campaign was unveiled by Tourism Australia, which aims to market South Australia as a world-leading tourism destination for quality food and wine6. With the help of social media, it will promote the idea that there is no better place to eat in the world than Australia, both in terms of the diversity of food and wine available, but also the impressive backdrops against which you can eat and drink. The campaign hopes to involve a range of food producers, restaurants, farmers markets, wine cellars and food trails, allowing us to contribute information and stories to attract the attention of tourists and spark their interest in visiting. This is welcome news for all of us involved in industries linked to food and wine tourism, and this extra marketing ties in with the strategies laid out by the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia7.

Contributed by reader, Jenni Stenton