Northern Territory taps on food tourism to attract visitors

Published on : Monday, June 22, 2015

Northern Territory GovernmentVisitors to Darwin will be able to taste the unique flavours of the Territory at a new interactive cooking kitchen that is tapping into the growing food tourism market, Chief Minister Adam Giles said.

Mr Giles said the new kitchen at Wharf One Food & Wine restaurant at Darwin Waterfront was made possible with the help of $44,696 from the $1.3 million pool of Northern Territory and Commonwealth funding for tourism infrastructure projects in 2014/15.

“Food tourism is a growing phenomenon among travellers with industry research showing great food, wine and local cuisine is now a major factor influencing holiday decisions,” he said.

“Wharf One Food & Wine’s location close to the wharf and convention centre means it is ideally located to target the cruise ship market and business events sector.

“The restaurant’s new cooking demonstration kitchen is the first of its kind in Darwin, offering a new hands on food tourism experience that showcases the uniqueness of the Territory’s local produce and multiculturalism.

“For example, visitors will learn how to cook and eat a mud cub and how to prepare Territory game meats such as crocodile, buffalo, camel and of course the iconic barramundi.

“The cooking demonstrations will be educational and will source local people to talk about their products and tell the unique story of being Territorian.”

Wharf One Food & Wine contributed $300,000 itself on top of the Government funding to upgrade and rebrand the restaurant, which was formerly known as Il Lido, with the new cooking demonstration packages expected to start in September.

“We hope that our demonstration kitchen will become a purpose built class room within our restaurant – the place to be if you love to cook, love to eat or just want to have a great time,” Wharf One Food & Wine owner Darren Lynch said.

“We will have talented and entertaining staff that will share their experience and knowledge and demonstrate the diversity of cuisine in the Northern Territory. We will promote our product, both nationally and internationally, as a conference and incentive activity for generating increased business tourism traffic to the NT.”

The restaurant currently hosts 30 national and international events a year and it is hoped the new kitchen will see this figure double to 60 functions a year.

Mr Giles said the Territory Government had committed $8 million for Darwin Waterfront projects in the 2015-16 Budget to make the area even more attractive to tourists.

“The Waterfront is the destination for more than 50,000 cruise ship passengers each year and we will do all we can to encourage them to explore Darwin,” he said.

“One of the centrepieces of our Budget package was the installation of a new shaded walkaway that will allow cruise ship passengers to stroll from the cruise ship terminal to the Waterfront precinct in comfort.”

Mr Giles said the new interactive cooking kitchen was an example of a possible infrastructure project that could be funded under the Northern Territory Government’s new $4.75 million Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund

“This new program will be available to operators and projects right across the Territory with a particular focus on regional, remote and Indigenous tourism products,” he said.

“This is a significant investment in the NT tourism industry that will help attract more visitors here and encourage them to stay longer.

“It’s all part of the Government’s plan to drive the development of North Australia and build a $2.2 billion visitor economy by 2020.”

Mr Giles said the Government would soon be releasing guidelines for the Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund and was holding free information sessions.

“This is an important opportunity for tourism operators to learn more about the program and how they can start preparing their applications,” he said.

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