WA food and wine pops up in London

Tourism Australia is planning a pop-up restaurant in the centre of London this year that will feature a day dedicated to WA food and wine.

New managing director John O'Sullivan, on his first visit to Perth since taking up the appointment 10 weeks ago, revealed the plans at yesterday's WA launch of Tourism Australia's Restaurant Australia campaign.

He said a 30-second advertisement featuring friends enjoying seafood and wine on Rottnest Island would be shown extensively in Britain and key Asian markets such as Singapore and Malaysia.

About 80 of the world's top food writers and food celebrities would be invited to Australia at the culmination of the Restaurant Australia campaign in November and many of them would visit WA.

The week-long visit would culminate in an Invite the World to Dinner gala event at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart.

Mr O'Sullivan said it made sense to promote WA in Britain - with events such as the London pop-up restaurant in September - because it was such an important market for international tourism to the State.

More than 150,000 people visited WA from Britain last year, a 9 per cent increase on 2012.

It is WA's biggest source of international tourists.

Speaking at the campaign launch at the Perth City Farm, Mr O'Sullivan said research showed more visitors were "travelling to Australia on their stomachs".

And while they were in the country, they spent about $4 billion.

But the research also showed a significant gap in the perception of Australia's food and wine offerings.

"For people who have never visited Australia, only 26 per cent associate us with a good food and wine offering," he said.

"But for those who have visited us, Australia ranks second in the world for its food and wine experiences, behind only culinary giant France and ahead of Italy."

Tourism WA chief executive Stephanie Buckland said research had shown that more than 1.1 million domestic holidaymakers to WA last year either sought out a food and wine experience while they were on holiday or decided where to stay based on the culinary options available.

She said these figures presented significant opportunities for local tourism operators, as well as food and beverage producers.

"Our goal is to grow the value of tourism in WA to $12 billion by 2020 and offering culinary experiences certainly has a big part to play in that," Ms Buckland said.

The West Australian

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