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Students are required to submit a report in which they analyse the Margaret River Gourmet Escape. The report should address the following:
- Provide an overview of the event (focusing on the most recent occurrence) and outline the growth & development of the event over the last 5 years.
- Discuss the strategies that the event uses to promote Margaret River as a gastronomic tourism destination (domestically & internationally), with a focus on the local food & wine industry.
- Outline current environmental, economic, social and political issues (one for each category) that have the potential to impact on the future of gastronomic tourism in Margaret River and Australia as a whole.
- Identify two (2) emerging consumer trends and propose two (2) additional activities that could be incorporated into next year’s programme to address these trends and support the growth of gastronomic tourism in the Margaret River region. Research other domestic & global food events for inspiration.
- This report must be supported by both academic & non-academic sources.
Held during the month of November every year in Australia’s South Western regions in the spectacular Margaret River region, the Margaret River Gourmet Escape is an exceptional event that engages food and wine loving visitors over a 4-day festival program. Since the launch, it is reported to have entertained around 80000 passionate foodies with local flavours, incredible landscapes and fun atmosphere. This event has enhanced interest among the international and domestic food and wine enthusiasts due to its publicity from having celebrity chefs, like Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White who are headliner of the event and promote the Margaret River region and its produce to the world. The public relation strategy adopted with the collaboration of event organisers and tourism development agencies in the region and state is a major driver for ticket sales. Further, media coverage and social activities through social media platforms of both the event management as well as participating chefs and critics is a key booster for event audiences.
Though a successful event and regarded as one the world's best and premium events, Margaret River Gourmet Escape is poised with threats arising from the lack of government funding as issues arise over the revenue generated and cost incurred. Further, there is an ongoing discussion about splitting the event between Margaret River and Swan Valley which is 300 km apart thereby diluting the essence of the festival.
There is a growing trend among consumers towards the preference of fresh farm produce, to know about its contents and origins which drive the small gastronomy tourism market. With the growing sense of social responsibility, it is recommended that Margaret River incorporate sustainability in its event which focuses on the community rather than only on the celebrity chefs. Another suggested activity is to incorporate the human factor in the event as there is growing interest among consumers towards cooking their own food.
Gastronomic tourism is gaining momentum all over the globe where food is the key driver for the journey. It is defined as an activity involving the visit to primary or secondary food producers, food festivals, hospitality events which showcase the production of cuisine and serves food for tasting and experiencing the local produce and regional specialties (Sengel, Karagoz, Cetin, Dincer, Ertugral, & Balık, 2015). The gastronomy and local food is considered unique to a specific region which is utilized as a destination feature to attract more visitors. This report analyses the gastronomic event of Margaret River Gourmet Escape, the strategies adopted to promote the destination, the impact of external environmental factors on the destination and Australia as a whole, and proposed activities to the event programme in line with prevailing consumer trends.