Food and Wine Tourism in New South Wales - Destination NSW

Food and Wine Tourism in New South Wales - Destination NSW

Image: Gemelli Estate, Hunter Valley Wine Region. Courtesy of Lisa Maree Williams/Destination NSW. FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES Executive...

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Image: Gemelli Estate, Hunter Valley Wine Region. Courtesy of Lisa Maree Williams/Destination NSW.

FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES Executive summary

JANUARY 2015

3 FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES Tourism Research Australia and Destination New South Wales commissioned Instinct and Reason to conduct research during the first half of 2014 to better understand the perceptions, motivations, behaviours and experiences of domestic overnight food and wine visitors to New South Wales (NSW) from Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne.

INTRODUCTION Food and wine tourism is an important element of the visitor experience in New South Wales (NSW). In the year ending September 2014, there were over 780,000 domestic overnight visitors to wineries in NSW. These visitors stayed over 2.6 million nights and spent over $701 million in NSW. To inform the strategic development of food and wine visitation and experiences in NSW, this research sought to: nn profile food and wine visitors to NSW and identify market segments nn increase understanding of the attributes and complementary activities which define a ‘good’ food and wine tourism experience for visitors nn assess the level of awareness and satisfaction with NSW food and wine destinations, and identify opportunities for improvement nn determine tolerance to travel for a food and wine experience. Findings from this research will help further develop the food and wine sector in NSW and enhance the profile of NSW’s food and wine offering among domestic and international visitors. Contact [email protected] to obtain the full report.

4

FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES TOURISM RESEARCH AUSTRALIA

KEY FINDINGS

RESEARCH METHOD

nn People are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about, and engaged in food and wine. They are seeking ‘authentic’ experiences and products.

This study used a multi-stage approach (Figure 1). The first (desk research) was followed by qualitative research including interviews with industry experts across NSW. These experts were chosen to provide a good representation of the food and wine tourism industry. They included the NSW Wine Industry Association, Taste Orange, NSW Farmer’s Association, and Restaurant & Catering NSW. Focus groups with food and wine motivated tourists were conducted in Sydney.

nn As anticipated, some food and wine visitors were more passionate than others in their level of interest when travelling around to eat and drink local produce. These visitors can be classed as ‘dedicated’; ‘interested’; or ‘accidental’. nn Aside from wine tasting and sales, the ‘must have’ activities essential to a winery visit included having a meal, and sampling local produce. There was also a high level of interest in educational activities (such as learning about the process of wine making) and unique offerings at wineries. nn Being able to eat fresh, locally grown food for breakfast, lunch and dinner was the number one desired attribute of a food and wine region.

The final phase involved an online survey of 1,090 residents from the primary food and wine source markets in NSW (Sydney and Canberra) as well as from the secondary markets (Brisbane and Melbourne). Respondents were those who had taken a food and wine motivated holiday/break in the last two years in NSW and had been involved in the decision-making for the trip. The survey sample reflected the profile of domestic food and wine visitors to NSW.

nn Having the ability to buy local produce and to take short drives to places of interest nearby to the main destination being visited were also important for a ‘good’ food and wine experience.

The survey included a choice model component that sought responses to hypothetical scenarios for food and wine destination offerings.

nn The Hunter Valley was the most visited food and wine region in New South Wales, had the highest unprompted awareness and was most likely to be considered for future visits.

FIGURE 1: RESEARCH STAGES

nn Two-thirds of food and wine visitors were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with their NSW food and wine experience. nn Tolerance to travel varied among different types of food and wine visitors. Obviously, ‘dedicated’ food and wine visitors were the most willing to travel further away from home for a food and wine experience. nn Apart from distance from home, the top three factors influencing destination choice were the quality of customer service, the range of accommodation options and the ease of organising the food and wine trip.

QUALITATIVE

DESKTOP RESEARCH

QUANTITATIVE

A

B

C

D

A review of existing literature

10 x in-depth interviews with industry experts

2 x focus group discussions with food and wine motivated tourists in Sydney

1,090 x people surveyed through online ‘research only’ panel

5 WHAT DID THE INDUSTRY EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY? People are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about, and engaged in, food and wine. Industry experts noted that many visitors wanted to make personal connections with winemakers, producers and proprietors as they sought ‘authentic’ experiences and products.

REGIONAL HEROES

INTRODUCING THE IDEA OF ‘REGIONAL HEROS’ WHO INCLUDE WINE MAKERS, FOOD PRODUCERS, AND CHEFS AS PART OF THE REGIONAL BRAND.

‘PADDOCK TO PLATE’

TELLING THE STORY OF FOOD/WINE PRODUCTION, EXPLAINING WHERE THE INGREDIENTS COME FROM, HOW THEY CAN BE USED, AND SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES.

FOOD AND WINE EVENTS

RUNNING EVENTS INCLUDING DINNERS TO SHOWCASE LOCAL PRODUCE USING FAMOUS CHEFS AND/OR WINEMAKERS AS DRAWCARDS.

FOOD AND WINE TRAILS

PROMOTING REGIONS RATHER THAN INDIVIDUAL ATTRACTIONS THROUGH COHESIVE MARKETING OF A VARIETY OF EXPERIENCES.

EXPERIENCED/ KNOWLEDGABLE STAFF

HAVING WAIT STAFF KNOWLEDGABLE ABOUT PRODUCE AND ITS ORIGINS. HAVING CELLAR DOOR STAFF ABLE TO PROVIDE BOTH A SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE.

SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION

USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO CONNECT WITH CONSUMERS, PRODUCERS AND BUSINESS OWNERS.

INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCES

WINEMAKERS ALLOWING VISITORS TO OBSERVE OR TAKE PART IN THE VINTAGE* PROCESS. ALLOWING VISITORS TO PICK THEIR OWN FRUIT.

*Vintage is the process of picking grapes and creating the finished product.

Image: Couple having picnic at Binbilla Winery in Young, Capital Country. Courtesty of Holly Bradford/Capital Country Tourism.

Savvy operators who understand the value of this relationship with consumers employ a number of successful strategies including:

6

FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES TOURISM RESEARCH AUSTRALIA

TYPICAL FOOD AND WINE BEHAVIOURS nn 45% travelled as a couple

TRAVEL PARTY

nn 23% travelled as a family

nn Nearly half travelled as a couple

nn 23% travelled with friends or colleagues

nn More than half were away for one or two nights, usually on a weekend trip

nn Fairly even spilt between young families where most of the children are under 16 years and older families where most of the children are over 16 years

nn Spring and autumn had greater appeal than summer or winter

nn 32% two night trip nn 21% one night trip nn 14% day trip nn 38% went for longer trips: TRIP LENGTH

DISTANCE TRAVELLED (ONE-WAY)

As expected, people were willing to travel further away from home for longer trips. Around 40% would travel more than 400 kms for a week-long trip. The main sources of information for food and wine holiday or short break were: nn Internet sites (82%)

 10% for four nights

nn Word of mouth (78%)

 11% for more than five nights

nn Previous experience (76%)

nn Most travelled less than 299 km (70%) and 3.5 hours for a day trip

nn TV and newspaper ads (64%).

nn 200–299 km was as far as most people (36%) would travel for a weekend trip; however, Canberra residents would travel further (36% 300–399 km)

The top three triggers for a food and wine experience were:

nn For a week-long trip, people were willing to travel further—40% would travel further than 400 km

nn Spring (21%) and autumn (19%) had the greatest appeal TIME OF YEAR nn Summer (9%) and winter (7%) had the lowest appeal

nn $572 per person per trip on food and wine travel in NSW HOW MUCH WAS SPENT?

nn On average, $572 was spent per person on a food and wine trip in NSW.

 17% for three nights

nn More than one-quarter of the total sample had no preference

$

For domestic travellers taking a food and wine holiday or short break in the last two years:

nn $366 per person on day trips only nn $911 per person on trips for four or more nights, equating to $130 per day.

nn Need for a short break nn Special occasions as a couple nn Wanted a luxury pampered weekend.

7 WHERE DID FOOD AND WINE VISITORS GO? In the last two years (2012–2014), food and wine enthusiasts from Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne have visited (Figure 2):

FIGURE 2: TOP 10 NSW FOOD AND WINE DESTINATIONS VISITED IN LAST TWO YEARS

nn Hunter Valley (39%) nn Blue Mountains (20%) nn Mudgee (13%) nn Southern Highlands (13%) nn Canberra District (12%). As expected, food and wine visitors mostly travelled to the destinations adjacent to their home. Sydney residents—most often travelled to Hunter Valley (58%), Blue Mountains (28%) and Southern Highlands (23%). Despite the further distance from Sydney, Mudgee (22%) was a popular destination for Sydney residents. Canberra residents—mostly visited their local food and wine destination Canberra District/ Poacher’s Way (56%), and nearby Southern Highlands (32%). However, they were also willing to travel further away and visited Hunter Valley (27%) and the South Coast (20%). With not as many established food and wine regions close to home, Brisbane residents were willing to travel further away to the Hunter Valley and nearby NSW food and wine regions. Brisbane residents—most commonly visited the Hunter Valley (35%), Northern Rivers (22%), North Coast (16%) and Blue Mountains (14%). Despite having well-established food and wine destinations and closeness to the Yarra Valley, Melbourne residents managed to travel to the Hunter Valley and to nearby NSW food and wine regions. Melbourne residents—most often visited the Hunter Valley (22%), the Murray (16%), Blue Mountains (14%) and Riverina (12%).

HUNTER VALLEY

39%

BLUE MOUNTAINS

20%

MUDGEE

13%

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

13%

CANBERRA DISTRICT/ POACHER’S WAY

12%

RIVERINA

11%

SOUTH COAST

10%

ORANGE

10%

MURRAY

9%

NORTHERN RIVERS

9% 0%



10%

20%

Q. Which of NSW destinations known for its food and/or wine have you visited in the last two years? Base: total (n = 1,090).

30%

40%

8

FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES TOURISM RESEARCH AUSTRALIA

TYPES OF FOOD AND WINE VISITORS Some food and wine visitors are more passionate than others. Survey respondents were asked to classify themselves as dedicated, interested or accidental visitors based on their interest for food and wine. There were differences in these visitor types in terms of profile (age and travel party), food and wine interests and travel behaviour. Dedicated—One in six (16%) described themselves as being passionate when it came to food and wine. Typical characteristics of these visitors included:

Accidental—The remaining 24% were occasionally motivated to experience food and wine. Typical characteristics of these visitors included: nn aged 65 years or more and travelled as a couple nn had no preference on which season to travel nn more likely to have not taken a holiday for a food and wine experience in NSW in the last two years nn wanted food and wine experiences in nearby regional destinations.

nn aged between 25–44 years nn travelling as a couple or with a small group of friends nn more interested in attending a special event, wine lectures, information sessions, participating in master classes and wine club dinners

WHAT MOTIVATES FOOD AND WINE VISITORS?

nn liked to eat at wineries, to have conversations with winemakers, chefs, local food growers, and be able to eat fresh, organic food. Interested—Accounted for the majority of food and wine visitors (60%). Typical characteristics of these visitors included: nn aged between 18–24 years nn liked to have conversations with winemakers, meet local food growers, and learn something new nn having a luxury/pampered break, or experiencing a food and wine festival likely triggered food and wine holiday or break.

Not surprisingly, the number one motivator for travel was having the opportunity to try different foods and wine (63%). The element of nature and uniqueness about the destination, as well as the opportunity for indulgence were seen as important motivators: nn time to interact with nature as well as experience food and wine (54%) nn indulging in a food and wine weekend (51%) nn the desire to find what was unique about the destination (49%).

9 WHAT MAKES A GOOD FOOD AND WINE EXPERIENCE ANYWHERE? Wine has widely been acknowledged as the core driver for food and wine tourism; however, this research highlights the rising prominence of food (Figure 3). The ‘journey’ to the destination is also increasing in importance. This highlights the need for information on things to see and do along the way, and for making tools available (e.g. trip planners on websites) to enable people to plan and maximise their food and wine experience. Important attributes cited included being able to: nn eat fresh, locally grown food for breakfast, lunch and dinner nn buy local produce in its various forms nn take short drives to places of interest near the main destination nn make the journey part of the break with ‘interest’ stops on the way there and back home.

FIGURE 3: IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF A GOOD FOOD AND WINE EXPERIENCE EAT LOCALLY GROWN FOOD FOR BREAKFAST/LUNCH/DINNER BUY LOCAL PRODUCE IN ALL ITS VARIOUS FORMS VISIT LOCAL ARTS/CRAFTS SHOPS/MARKETS

-1% -2%

nn websites that allow visitors to plan their trip (including places to visit along the way) nn multiple attractions that can provide 1 to 2 days of activities.

RECOMMENDATIONS The journey is increasingly part of the food and wine experience. To enable people to plan their food and wine visit and make the most of the return journey, websites need to be:

nn an interactive travel planning tool so that visitors can access information about the journey as they travel. Providing information on attractions that include one to two days of activities (i.e. museums, galleries, local markets, arts/crafts stores and lookouts) could also add value to the journey.

26%

TAKE SHORT DRIVES TO PLACES OF INTEREST NEARBY

-3%

EAT AT WINERIES

-3%

24%

MAKE THE JOURNEY PART OF THE BREAK

-2%

24%

-5%

26%

23%

TALK TO LOCAL GROWERS ABOUT THEIR FOOD

-8%

18%

INDULGE YOURSELF (DAY SPA OR MASSAGE)

-11%

17%

-6%

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

17%

ENTERTAINMENT (NIGHTLIFE)

-12%

15%

HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH WINE MAKERS

-8%

15%

HAVE CONVERSATIONS WITH CHEFS

-8%

14%

MAKE CONTACT WITH LOCALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

nn more than about the destination–they should also highlight how to get there, what to do and see along the way

31%

-4%

EAT FRESH, ORGANIC FOOD FOR BREAKFAST/LUNCH/DINNER

The necessary infrastructure included:

35%

ONE-OFF EXHIBITIONS

DISAGREE (TOTAL: DISAGREE AND STRONGLY DISAGREE)

-25%

11%

-9% 10%

STRONGLY AGREE

Q. For each of the following elements, how strongly do you agree they are important elements of a good food and wine/ tourism experience? Base total (n = 1,090).

10

FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES TOURISM RESEARCH AUSTRALIA

WHAT DO VISITORS WANT TO DO AT WINERIES? While people still visit wineries and take the opportunity to taste and purchase wine, there was a growing interest in sampling food at wineries. The survey explored eight activities available at wineries. Four were considered essential elements to a winery visit (i.e. aspects deemed important by nearly all respondents): nn have meals at wineries (92% of respondents) nn wine tasting (88%) nn sample local produce at wineries (87%) nn purchase wine (87%). The remainder were seen as differentiating elements (i.e. important to a majority but not to all). There was also a high interest in educational activities and a desire for unique offerings such as: nn taking part in a wine tour (77%) nn attending a special event (music, drama) (72%) nn taking part in a food and wine master class (57%)

FIGURE 4: ACTIVITIES VISITORS WOULD CONSIDER WHEN VISITING A WINERY

92%

HAVE A MEAL WINE TASTING

88%

SAMPLE PRODUCE AT WINERY

87%

PURCHASE WINE

87% 77%

WINE TOUR

72%

SPECIAL EVENT WINE CLUB DINNER

57%

FOOD AND WINE MASTER CLASS

57%

WINE LECTURE/INFORMATION SESSION

nn attending a wine club dinner (57%).

54% 0%

20%

40%

60%

80%

100%

Q. Would you consider participating in any of the following activities when visiting a winery? Base: total (n = 1,090).

RECOMMENDATIONS Q. Would you consider participating any of the following activities whenofferings. visiting a winery? total (n = 1,090). nn Food and wine visitorsin are seeking more ‘unique’ WineBase: tasting, meals, local

produce sampling and wine purchase should all be offered as a minimum. nn To stand out from the rest, wineries could consider offering wine tours, special events, food and wine master classes and wine club dinners.

11 AWARENESS OF NSW FOOD AND WINE DESTINATIONS Awareness is a critical indicator of whether a destination has presence in the minds of the consumer. It is therefore a key factor in consumers’ choice of a destination. The Hunter Valley was the most mentioned (unprompted and prompted) food and wine destination in NSW.

FIGURE 5: AWARENESS OF TOP 10 NSW FOOD AND WINE DESTINATIONS

67%

HUNTER VALLEY

74%

As expected, however, people were more aware of the destinations closer to them: nn The Hunter Valley was the most mentioned (unprompted) food and wine destination by those from Sydney (79%) and least by Melbourne residents, though still significant at 52%.

SOUTH COAST

nn Many food and wine visitors from Canberra mentioned the Canberra District/Poacher’s Way (unprompted, 33%). They were also well aware of the Southern Highlands (25%).

NORTH COAST

nn Food and wine visitors from Brisbane tended to be more aware of the nearby North Coast region of NSW (unprompted, 28%). Food and wine destinations with low proximity to the population centres had low spontaneous awareness (i.e. they required prompting). When prompted, however: nn About half of the Sydney respondents were aware of Mudgee (53%), while Brisbane (22%) and Melbourne (18%) respondents had low awareness. nn The Murray was recognised by residents of Melbourne (38%), much more than those from the other cities.

RECOMMENDATIONS Many NSW regions had low spontaneous awareness when it came to food and wine experiences. To generate awareness: nn ‘new news’ is needed about the regions’ food and wine offers to attract dedicated food and wine visitors nn promotional material should not only highlight food and wine experiences, but also the attractions, museums, activities, arts/crafts, shops and markets offered by the local area.

19%

MUDGEE

34% 16% 23% 14% 19% 12%

ORANGE

32% 11%

BLUE MOUNTAINS

44% 8%

RIVERINA

37% 7%

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

27% 6%

NORTHERN RIVERS

UNPROMPTED AWARENESS 24%

CANBERRA DISTRICT/ POACHER’S WAY

PROMPTED AWARENESS

6% 23% 0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

60%

70%

80%

Q. Thinking about the food and/or wine destinations in NSW, which destinations can you think of? Base: total (n = 1,090)

12

FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES TOURISM RESEARCH AUSTRALIA

WHICH DESTINATIONS WERE FOOD AND WINE VISITORS CONSIDERING VISITING IN NSW? The Hunter Valley was the number one food and wine destination being considered for future visits. More than half of the respondents would consider visiting the Hunter Valley— with 56% indicating a future trip was probable, through to indicating a future trip was a certainty. As expected, people were considering future visits to destinations closer to home. Sydney residents were most likely to consider visiting the Hunter Valley (69%), the Blue Mountains (60%), the Southern Highlands (48%) and the South Coast (47%). Canberra residents were most likely to consider visiting the Canberra District/Poacher’s Way (69%), followed by the Hunter Valley (48%), the South Coast (47%), the Southern Highlands (44%) and the Snowy Mountains (41%). Brisbane residents were most likely to consider visiting the Hunter Valley (54%), Northern Rivers (51%), North Coast (45%), and the Blue Mountains (41%). Despite the proximity of Yarra Valley to Melbourne, nearly half of the interviewed Melbourne residents indicated that they were most likely to consider visiting the Hunter Valley (42%), the Blue Mountains (41%) and the Murray (40%).

FIGURE 6: NSW FOOD AND WINE DESTINATIONS PEOPLE CONSIDER VISITING* 56%

HUNTER VALLEY 49%

BLUE MOUNTAINS 41%

NORTHERN RIVERS

39%

NORTH COAST

37%

SOUTH COAST

36%

SNOWY MOUNTAINS

34%

THE HAWKESBURY CANBERRA DISTRICT

33%

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

33% 32%

MUDGEE MURRAY

31%

SHOALHAVEN

31%

HASTINGS RIVER

31% 29%

RIVERINA

28%

ORANGE

RECOMMENDATIONS As proximity to home is linked to awareness and consideration of food and wine destinations, marketing campaigns and communications need to be targeted to specific geographic areas. For example, increasing advertising of Northern Rivers as a food and wine destination to Brisbane residents and the Murray to Melbourne residents.

26%

NEW ENGLAND

23%

TUMBARUMBA

23%

COWRA

22%

HILLTOPS

21%

GUNDAGAI 0%

10%

20%

30%

40%

50%

Q. Would you consider visiting? Base: total (n = 1,090) *Results above indicate total responses for 7, 8, 9 and 10 on a 10 point scale (i.e. probable through to a certainty).

60%

13 SATISFACTION Overall, around one-quarter (23%) of food and wine visitors to NSW were extremely satisfied with their experience. A further 44% were satisfied, 21% neutral and 2% dissatisfied. Sydney residents were the most likely to be ‘extremely satisfied’ (33%) with NSW food and wine experiences, followed by Canberra residents (24%). When measuring the satisfaction of aspects of the food and wine trip (Figure 7): nn the quality of NSW wines topped the list of trip aspects with which visitors were satisfied (91% satisfied/extremely satisfied), followed by quality of food products (89%) nn visitors were less likely to be satisfied with nightlife and entertainment (60%) and shopping (73%). When measuring the satisfaction of food and wine experienced in destinations across NSW: nn visitors were most satisfied with Orange (89%) and Mudgee (88%) nn Hunter Valley, the number one food and wine destination in terms of awareness and consideration, was also rated highly (87%) in overall satisfaction.

RECOMMENDATIONS nn Drive positive ‘word-of-mouth’ by leveraging off high levels of satisfaction. nn Customer service was a key differentiator when it came to cellar doors and restaurants and associated word-of-mouth recommendations. Improvements in this area are needed as they will determine the telling and re-telling of great food and wine experiences. nn Enhance the range of accommodation, restaurants and other services available. Ensure there are a number of options available to provide all types of experiences at varying costs. nn Extend trading hours for wineries, restaurants and entertainment venues to cater for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

FIGURE 7: SATISFACTION WITH ASPECTS OF FOOD AND WINE TRIPS – SATISFIED AND EXTREMELY SATISFIED

91%

QUALITY OF NSW WINES QUALITY OF NSW FOOD PRODUCTS

89%

RESTAURANT/CAFÉ FOOD

88%

CUSTOMER SERVICE AT CELLAR DOORS

88%

RESTAURANT/CAFÉ SERVICE

87%

QUALITY OF ACCOMMODATION

87%

OPENING HOURS

85%

TOURIST OFFICE MAPS/GUIDES/BROCHURES

84%

NUMBER OF WINERIES IN THE DESTINATION

84%

VALUE FOR MONEY

82%

ATTRACTIONS/ACTIVITIES

82%

QUALITY OF FOOD AND WINE INFO ONLINE

80%

AVAILABILITY OF FOOD AND WINE INFO ONLINE

79%

SHOPPING NIGHTLIFE/ENTERTAINMENT

73% 60%

0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

Q. How would you rate your satisfaction with? Base: those satisfied and extremely satisfied (n = 673)

14

FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES TOURISM RESEARCH AUSTRALIA

KEY DRIVERS OF DESTINATION CHOICE Respondents were shown eight hypothetical destination offerings based on 13 different attributes1 and were asked to assess each offering. This showed the degree of influence each attribute has in the choices people make for food and wine destinations. One of the research objectives was to determine how far people were willing to travel for a food and wine experience. Tolerance to distance was one of the 13 attributes assessed. The main highlights from this analysis (Table 1) were: nn distance from home (36%) was the most important attribute for food and wine visitors when choosing a destination. Tolerance to distance varied among the identified types of food and wine visitors, with the dedicated visitor (24%) being the most tolerant to it nn tolerance to distance also varied among different geographic markets. Brisbane residents (28%) were more comfortable travelling long distances to visit food and wine regions compared with people living in Sydney (41%); this could be due to a wider choice of established food and wine destinations in NSW nn the quality of customer service received and the range of accommodation were the next two most likely factors to influence choice. Quality customer service means destinations and attractions working together to provide food and wine visitors with a complete experience nn other key attributes included an easy and convenient way of being able to organise/ plan the entire food and wine visit; the range of restaurants available and other services a regional destination can provide. These other services could include food and wine storage and delivery, provision of drivers to take you around, whether food growers allow food tasting, etc nn the remaining attributes (e.g. things to do, special drawcards) had only a minor impact on demand but they can increase demand for a food and wine destination, if done effectively.

1 13 attributes included: distance from home; service; accommodation; ways of organising the food and wine trip; restaurants; other services; reputation; wineries; transport options; people you will meet; things to do (museums, galleries etc.); special draw cards; and rural environment.

TABLE 1: TOP 6 INFLUENCING ATTRIBUTES FOR EACH FOOD AND WINE SEGMENT ALL Distance from home Customer service Accommodation

DEDICATED Distance from home Customer 11% service

36%

11% Accommodation

INTERESTED 38%

Distance from home

42%

13% Accommodation

11%

Accommodation

12%

Customer service

10%

Customer service

12%

24%

11%

Distance from home

ACCIDENTAL

Planning

7% Restaurant

8% Planning

7%

Planning

7%

Restaurant

6% Reputation

7% Other services

6%

Restaurant

6%

Other services

6% Other services

6% Restaurant

6%

Other services

4%

RECOMMENDATIONS nn Destinations can overcome the barrier of distance by delivering a great service experience (working together as an integrated region) and building a reputation for a unique offer. nn Food and wine visitors were seeking less ‘mainstream’ and more ‘unique’ offerings. Wine tasting, meals, local produce sampling and wine purchase should all be offered as a minimum. To stand out from the rest, consider offering wine tours, special events, food and wine master classes and wine club dinners.

15 CONCLUSION nn Food and wine tourism is an important driver of visitation to NSW destinations. nn Not all food and wine visitors were equally interested in food and wine experiences— marketing strategies need to consider each type of food and wine visitor. In terms of percentage, the segments of the market were broadly:  60% ‘interested’  16% ‘dedicated’

nn ‘Dedicated’ food and wine visitors will seek out information about food and wine tourism opportunities, and desire the following food and wine experiences:  eat at wineries  have conversations with winemakers  eat and have conversations with chefs about the food  meet local food growers and talk about food and the way it is grown  eat fresh, organic food for breakfast, lunch and dinner  opportunities to indulge (day spa or massage). nn Tolerance to distance was an important factor in destination choice. Dedicated food and wine visitors were most tolerant to distance as they seek unique and complete food and wine experiences. nn Customer service was another important differentiator on destination choice. Visitors were looking for consistent high quality service across the whole destination, where the destination and attractions work together to provide a complete food and wine experience. nn Enhancements in experiences available, particularly more ‘unique offerings’ can assist overcome the barrier of distance and entice more food and wine visitors.

Image: Wine tasting at the Trentham Estate Cellar Door, The Murray. Courtesy of Rob Blackburn/Destination NSW.

 24% ‘accidental’.

FOOD AND WINE TOURISM IN NEW SOUTH WALES |

January 2015