Tourism Noosa's first food tourism strategy session.
Tourism Noosa's first food tourism strategy session.

Noosa cooks up a tasty recovery

FOOD could hold the key to drawing tourists back to Noosa.

The tourism industry, which relies on a large percentage of interstate and international visitors, has been hit hard by this year’s COVID-19 restrictions and Tourism Noosa is looking for new ways to market the region.

On Wednesday, June 3, Tourism Noosa hosted the first food tourism workshop with representatives from Noosa Farmer’s Markets, Slow Food Noosa, FAN, Social Tap, InNoosa Magazine and Country Noosa.

Newly-appointed food tourism manager at Tourism Noosa, Lee Huber, said the session was “productive and collaborative and had a strong focus on the future”.

“After a very successful first stakeholder engagement meeting with the local food industry associations, Tourism Noosa is looking forward to continuing to work closely with these groups to further develop and promote a robust food tourism strategy,” she said.

Tourism Noosa CEO Melanie Anderson said the current strategic plan for Noosa, with its focus on interstate and overseas visitors, was no longer applicable in the current environment.

“COVID-19 and travel restrictions has literally changed tourism in our country and for Noosa, our current plan with a focus on interstate and international travellers is simply not possible at this point in time.”

Ms Anderson said the focus on food was one aspect of a new strategic vision being developed for the region for the next two years.

Noosa Farmer’s Markets owner Shane Stanley welcomed the collaborative approach.

“It was an open, frank discussion on where we are now and what we need to do for the future for everybody.

“We will be meeting every two weeks until we come up with a concrete plan.

“It makes sense though – Noosa is the food destination of Australia.

“What COVID-19 has done is it’s brought the spotlight on and highlighted the importance of the local food system.

“We are looking at the whole industry – from the farmers right through to the restaurants and how we support each other and promote Noosa as a food destination.”

Mr Stanley said with all the shortages of food items in supermarkets, the Farmer’s Markets were able to deliver a constant supply sourced from farms and producers in the wider Noosa region.

“That’s what sets Noosa apart,” he said.

“Our clean, green image is ticking all the boxes at the moment.”