- 2016 Margaret River Gourmet Escape starts today
- Internationally renowned television cook Nigella Lawson is headline guest
- Supported by State Government through Tourism WA and Royalties for Regions
Thousands of visitors are expected in Margaret River this weekend as Western Australia's biggest food and wine festival gets underway.
Premier and Tourism Minister Colin Barnett said the Margaret River Gourmet Escape was highly successful in promoting both the region and the State as a premium food and wine destination.
"The Margaret River Gourmet Escape has grown into one of the world's best food and wine festivals since it began in 2012," Mr Barnett said.
"It has also fast become an important economic driver for the region.
"The 2015 festival recorded an attendance of more than 18,000 and injected more than $7.8 million into the local economy."
The Premier said the festival had become a powerful brand in the culinary world, lifting Margaret River and WA's profile as a premium food and wine destination.
"West Australians know that the Margaret River region is one of the best places to visit for world-class wines, fresh produce, pristine beaches and beautiful forests, and we are telling the world through this spectacular festival," Mr Barnett said.
"We are also seeing great benefits for WA producers with products making it onto the menus and wine lists of the world's best restaurants."
Earlier this week, the Premier welcomed British television cooking superstar Nigella Lawson - the headline guest at this year's festival - to Western Australia and presented her with a basket of fresh WA produce.
The Margaret River Gourmet Escape is supported by the Liberal National Government through Tourism Western Australia's Regional Events Program, made possible by Royalties for Regions.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said he was pleased to see Royalties for Regions investing in the Regional Events Program to bring significant economic, social and cultural benefits to regional communities.
"Supporting events and tourism will help to grow regional areas into thriving and sustainable communities," Mr Redman said.
"Events like the Margaret River Gourmet Escape enhance the vibrancy in regional areas, making them exciting places to visit as well as great places to live."
The Premier said tourism was a vital industry for regional Western Australia.
"In 2015-16, visitors spent $9.6 billion in the State, including $4.5 billion in regional WA," Mr Barnett said.
"We have a strategy to increase the value of tourism to $12 billion by 2020 and supporting regional events such as this will help us achieve this."
- WA wines have featured on the wine lists of some of the world's best restaurants such as Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck in London, Rick Stein has offered WA toothfish on his menu, and Kylie Kwong has included WA insects as part of her offerings following her Margaret River Gourmet Escape appearance
- Margaret River Gourmet Escape runs from November 18 to 20, 2016
- For more information, visit http://www.gourmetescape.com.au
- Find out how Royalties for Regions is transforming your regional community at https://rfrmap.drd.wa.gov.au
Premier and Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5000
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700