Great Es­cape plans

The Advocate (Perth) - - NEWS - Lisa Thomas

THE Gourmet Es­cape, WA’s premier food and wine event, is set to grow in 2019, with plans to ex­pand the event to in­clude the Swan Val­ley.

Tourism Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia an­nounced last week that the Mar­garet River event would be back for 2018, and that the State Gov­ern­ment would re­view the event with plans to ex­pand the fes­ti­val over two weeks and in­clude Swan Val­ley events.

Swan Val­ley & Re­gional Winemakers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Yuri Berns said the an­nounce­ment was fan­tas­tic news for the Swan Val­ley.

“Hav­ing an event like this in the Swan Val­ley would cre­ate aware­ness of the re­gion to peo­ple around WA, in­ter­state and in­ter­na­tion­ally,” he said.

“Not only does the Swan Val­ley have fan­tas­tic winer­ies and restau­rants, but we also have a long his­tory of cul­ture.

“An event like Gourmet Es­cape would also high­light the won­der­ful mar­ket gar­den­ers and pro­duce we have in the re­gion.”

The an­nounce­ment has caused con­cern for stake­hold­ers in Mar­garet River, who are wor­ried that in­clud­ing the Swan Val­ley would re­duce vis­i­tor num­bers in the south west.

How­ever, Mr Berns said the re­gions were very dif­fer­ent.

“Ex­pand­ing the Swan Val­ley into this event will only help grow its suc­cess,” he said. “The two re­gions are very dif­fer­ent and do not of­fer the same when it comes to the food, wine or fa­cil­i­ties.

“I have con­fi­dence in the State Gov­ern­ment will work out how to bring the event to­gether and make sure both re­gions ben­e­fit.”

Min­is­ter Pa­palia said the ex­panded event would also have a fo­cus on pro­duce and op­por­tu­ni­ties for agri­cul­tural ex­port.

“We also want a clear strat­egy for food and wine fes­ti­vals that en­hance our trade and agri­cul­tural ex­port out­comes,” he said.

“We want to en­sure that the high qual­ity lo­cal food and wine at these events is read­ily avail­able to be served in China, Sin­ga­pore, Ja­pan and other key mar­kets.”

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt d476771

Au­thor Cathy Levett with her book on the western swamp tor­toise.

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