The potential of food tourism was a key focus of a visit to the Sunshine Coast by Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones.
Visit Sunshine Coast in association with Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) hosted a special networking event this morning at The Surf Club Mooloolaba, which was attended by over 100 industry representatives.
Sunshine Coast chef and bush foods expert, Peter Wolfe, conducted a food demonstration featuring the best of local produce for the Minister and attendees.
At the event, Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford announced that a new mobile food trail was close to being finalised, which would showcase the Sunshine Coast’s food producers, breweries and wineries, cooking schools and restaurants to highlight the region’s rich food heritage and diversity.
“Sunshine Coast has a renowned food pedigree,” said Mr Latchford. “At various times, the Sunshine Coast has been one of the State’s major sugar cane producers, then we became a premier dairy and cattle producing area, and today, the region’s farmers can produce just about anything from ginger and herbs through to snails, camel milk and feijoas.
“Our towns are increasingly synonymous with fine food, with Mooloolaba and Tin Can Bay prawns, along with Noosa spanner crabs, on menus around Australia. In fact, the Sunshine Coast food and agribusiness industry contributes around $535 million to our local economy each year and currently employs more than 5,000 people. The area is home to more than 900 agricultural businesses including world class companies like Nutworks, Buderim Ginger, Gourmet Garden and Co Yo.
“Food and tourism increasingly complement each other, so by using the latest mobile and online technology we will provide travellers with yet another reason to visit, or return to, the Sunshine Coast. They may initially come for the sunshine and beaches, but we want them to leave understanding the region offers so much more.
“Our food producers will be featured on a new national TV program hosted by the Sunshine Coast’s Peter Kuruvita next month, and this will inevitably be featured internationally, putting an even brighter spotlight on the region.
“It is wonderful to have the Minister come to the Sunshine Coast to meet our operators. With our partners at TEQ, we are really making headway in attracting interstate and international visitors to Queensland, and with food as a new focus we believe we can grow numbers even further.”
Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the mobile food trail demonstrated the Sunshine Coast’s world-class food and wine experiences.
“Our fresh produce, food and beverages are a huge part of Queensland’s enviable lifestyle and the Sunshine Coast has so much to offer in this area,” Ms Jones said.
“This food trail is a great way for visitors to uncover all the culinary delights of the Sunshine Coast, helping visitors plan and move through the region, tasting, staying and spending as they go.
“It’s great to see the project come together through the collaborative effort of Visit Sunshine Coast and Tourism and Events Queensland as well as supporting councils, Gympie, Noosa and the Sunshine Coast.
“I encourage the amazing array of food and wine operators across the region to put their businesses on the map and be a part of this project.”