Food, glorious food (warm damper and hamper…..)
Well I have been back at it for 10 days now and the nice calm start to 2019 didn’t quite turn out that way. Instead, I hopped on a flight up north for an incredible lunch and the opening of doors (metaphorically speaking of course).
One of our major partners at QTIC and specifically of our Indigenous Champions Network is the Star Entertainment Group. The Star Entertainment Group identified very early on the importance of authentic and engaging Indigenous tourism experiences and product. Since then they have been working closely with operators, producers and industry to make the most of Queensland’s heritage and culture.
It was very exciting to see 2019 kick off with an information session highlighting the potential opportunities for Indigenous businesses in Tropical North Queensland to work with the group.
The event with The Star management, procurement staff and food strategist alluded to the plentiful opportunities that are available for organisations in the region to work more closely with the group. Native food and ingredients are at the forefront of conversation. Food is now a major component of visitor experience. Spending on food and wine by international visitors in Australia has increased by 38% to $5.8 billion in 2017 and now accounts for one in five dollars spent. The MasterChef phenomenon has spread across domestic visitors and now everyone’s a food critic. Australia’s global ranking has moved from #10 to #8 for food and wine among those that haven’t travelled to Australia and #3 for those who have visited.
Tourism Australia through their Restaurant Australia campaign identified that the most attractive culinary tourism experiences for high value travellers are:
Heritage – gourmet experiences which speak of a region’s heritage and highlight local produce.
Wellness – a desire for balanced eating using the freshest and most nutritious produce.
Occasions – experiences where the food takes centre stage at any price point from street food to fine dining.
Stories – The provenance, production, craftmanship of products and personalised culinary experiences.
Some serious opportunity here!
At our 2017 Indigenous Employment Forum The Star food strategist identified the opportunity and the growth in demand. Now, two years on, its time to wake up, for those not yet on the boat, boarding needs to happen fast. This is an opportunity too big to ignore. With 50 restaurants and bars ranging from hatted dining to pop-up markets demand is rising for native ingredients and products that will set Queensland apart from the competition. The Star Entertainment Group are looking for that something special that will tantalise visitors’ tastebuds and leave the taste of Queensland on their lips forever.
At times like this there is no better time to quote one of our Champions – Shannon Ruska – “Are you ready to be a game changer – or will you be left wondering – should have I”.