Manjimup's truffle industry is being heralded by industry experts as a drawcard for major tourism operations.
This year’s Truffle Kerfuffle festival is expected to inject up to $3 million into the economy while senior representatives in the truffle and marketing fields claim Manjimup’s truffles are the next success story on a scale similar to Margaret River’s wine reputation.
“Manjimup’s claim to being Australia’s leading truffle region is a tourism branding dream and to not take advantage would be a huge opportunity missed,” South West freelance marketing consultant Anika Pawlovich said.
“Working collaboratively should be a community goal.
“Manjimup needs to invest in establishing a brand as the premier truffle growing area in the region, making it the place to visit.”
Australian Truffle Growers Association president Anne Mitchell said Manjimup provided 80 per cent of Australia’s truffles and was the biggest non-European producer.
“Overseas markets are starting to recognise Australian truffles, which essentially means Manjimup truffle,” she said.
“There are opportunities for food and lifestyle tourism and I’d like to see accommodation and facilities improved in Manjimup.”
Manjimup Truffles’ Al Blakers said he was blown away by the acceptance of Manjimup truffles in the international market — about five years ahead of what he had predicted.
“We are now at a point were the traders in truffles are chasing us and we are selling to France and Italy in their off season,” he said.
“With the branding project going on with the Southern Forrest Food Council we have the perfect opportunity to cement our region as the major food production area with the best quality produce.
The Wine and Truffle Company’s Gavin Booth said Manjimup had two years to grab the truffle region banner before someone else.
“It would be a missed opportunity for the local economy,” he said.“We could attract millions of dollars of investment to the region in what is traditionally a quiet season.”
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