Friday, 23 September 2016
The popular culinary festival is supported by the Liberal National Government through Tourism Western Australia's Regional Events Program, made possible by Royalties for Regions.
Festival operator IMG Culinary accepted the tourism prize, seeing off competition from finalists Byron Bay Bluesfest, the Blues on Broadbeach Music Festival and Santos Tour Down Under.
Now in its fifth year, Margaret River Gourmet Escape continues to grow as a premier global culinary event, attracting international chefs and personalities such as Heston Blumenthal, Rene Redzepi, Marco Pierre White, Massimo Bottura, Antonio Carluccio, David Chang and Rick Stein.
Premier and Tourism Minister Colin Barnett said the festival was a major success story for the State's economy.
The 2015 event resulted in 23,000 room nights booked in the South-West, more than $7.8 million in expenditure in the region and more than $6.5 million worth of global brand awareness for WA.
"With the UK's Nigella Lawson confirmed for this year's Margaret River Gourmet Escape, this popularity is set not only to continue, but to grow," Mr Barnett said.
"In just a few short years, Margaret River Gourmet Escape has become a powerful brand in the culinary world, lifting Margaret River and WA's profile as a premium food and wine destination.
"This is really powerful when marketing the State to potential visitors to increase on the 400,000 food and wine enthusiasts who travel to WA each year. Margaret River Gourmet Escape is a key component of the State Government's Taste 2020 strategy to boost food and wine tourism.
"Tourism is a vital industry for our State. In 2015-16, visitors spent $9.6 billion in WA, including $4.5 billion in regional areas."
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Royalties for Regions investment in the Margaret River Gourmet Escape was also reaping rewards for the South-West region.
"Events of this calibre provide trade potential and broad exposure for local producers, as well as local jobs and training opportunities," Mr Redman said.
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