Food and wine tourism represents a significant and growing part of the Australian tourism industry.
Many small and regional food businesses do well from the growing interest in tourism; and it can provide valuable cash flow at relatively high margins to support other market-building activity.
- negotiating to place or serve your product in local restaurants and cafés, cellar door facilities and visitor information centres
- selling your product through local gourmet stores, or even opening your own store
- opening up your production facility if the production process is interesting in itself, and personal and food safety risks can be managed
As always, evaluate the opportunity carefully, weigh up the costs and benefits and plan methodically for smooth implementation.
Above all, don’t confuse tourism opportunities with your core business – unless they really are your core business.
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Consider the following issues in your planning:
- Being open to the public requires a personal presence, which may interfere with your production schedule and impose extra pressure on your personal and family life.
- Tourists often expect you to be open long hours, seven days a week. If you are not prepared to meet this expectation, you may experience disappointed customers and low visitor numbers. Ensure your opening hours are promoted to visitors well before they arrive at your front door by including them prominently in all advertising and listings.
- Food safety and personal safety may require adjustments to your premises, and tours may require you to provide hygiene clothing.
- Insurance is an essential cost of running a small business. You will need to get advice on the right type of insurance for you – including public liability insurance, product liability, professional indemnity, just to name a few.
Tips for success
- Become a member of your local food group and regional tourism association. Liaise closely with your local food and wine region organisations and tourism membership and marketing bodies, and participate actively in regional food and wine events.
- Register your business with the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse, which will list you on www.southaustralia.com
- Ensure you are included on any trail map or “visitor information” signage. Arrange clear signage from nearby intersections, and at the entry to your property, and have a simple map that you can post, email or fax to potential visitors.
- Provide advertising literature to petrol stations, local motels and caravan parks, bus tour operators, the visitor information centre and council chambers.
- If visitors will be coming to your facility, ensure that it projects a consistent image with your quality product. It needs to be clean and attractive.
- Promote your facility on your business website.
- Think about offering special, focused events at a low cost to bring people in, such as guided tastings. If you provide tours, develop a standard spiel for yourself and other staff who guide visitors through. Keep it light and informative, and be ready to answer questions.
- If your product fits neatly with a local theme, work with other businesses to establish a trail or joint product of some kind, and market together. Do other local businesses a favour by recommending them to visitors who come to your facility.
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Industry Development tools from SATC
The South Australian Tourism Commission has developed the publications, guidelines and policies on tourism.
Become a member of SATIC
The voice of tourism in South Australia, the run a range of training and events for industry, plus accreditation and programs.
Over the past decade Australia has become a culinary destination par excellence. Australians themselves have known it for years, and now the rest of the world is discovering the tastes of Australia.