Food a way to tourists hearts
Tourism WA chief Stephanie Buckland. Picture: Robert Duncan/The West Australian

Visitors to WA could be encouraged to follow "food trails" to explore farms, meet producers and buy fresh produce, according to one of the women responsible for shaking up the State's culinary tourism landscape.

Tourism WA chief executive Stephanie Buckland, who was a driving force in bringing the successful Margaret River Gourmet Escape food and wine festival to WA, said food tourism was such a significant part of "the tourism picture" the agency was working on a specific food and wine plan for the State.

That could include developing maps of relevant foodie locations for tourists visiting certain regions.

"One of the big issues is how do we link up the people who are producers of some of these amazing products who don't see themselves in tourism," Ms Buckland said.

"I think wineries a long time ago got it and they understand that they are in the tourism industry, but if you're somebody who's growing apples in Donnybrook or avocados in Manji- mup you may or may not see yourself as part of the tourism industry.

"We'd very much like to get those people engaged because I think the types of experiences consumers are looking for are really authentic.

"Ultimately what could come out of that - and I think it will end up being part of the strategy - is the development of trails, and that's something people can actually experience."

Ms Buckland is one of _West Weekend _'s 100 most influential West Australians, the full list of whom will be published in Saturday's magazine.

The US-born Ms Buckland started in Tourism WA's marketing department before taking on the top job four years ago and overseeing a dramatic overhaul of the agency.

The West Australian

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