The Gourmet Coast Trail's tourism campaign to attract visitors to the NSW South Coast outside of peak season has been shortlisted for a national award for breakthrough destination of the year.
Tourism campaigns for Noosa and Fiji have also been nominated as the sector competes hard for visitors after being devastated for two years by COVID-related lockdowns and closed borders.
The Gourmet Coast Trail was an initiative two years ago of three local food and wine producers - Dignams Creek truffle farmer Fiona Kotvojs, Greg Lissaman who grows tomatoes at Coolagolite and Lucy Wilson who produces wine at Breakfast Creek.
"We wanted to see food tourism be a year-round driver of tourism in the South Coast," Mr Lissaman said.
In July 2021 the Gourmet Coast Trail Association was awarded $315,000 from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery fund to implement a two-year marketing strategy, enhance the functionality of its Gourmet Coast Trail website and boost its membership.
Its digital marketing campaign has been shortlisted for a Mumbrella award for breakthrough destination of the year alongside Noosa and Fiji.
Mumbrella is an Australian marketing and media industry news website.
"We decided to build a marketing platform in the form of a website under which we bring quality food businesses with a commitment to local flavour between Batemans Bay, Eden and Nimmitabel to the west," Mr Lissaman said.
"That crosses three shires so we created one brand to bring them together."
Gourmet Coast Trail's marketing campaign seeks to attract visitors from Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne by raising awareness of the food to draw people to the NSW South Coast in the shoulder and off-seasons.
"We created itineraries by which people could discover amazing emerging and established businesses and really find their way into the tastes and people of this region," Mr Lissaman said.
The trail started with 53 food and beverage businesses and has added quality accommodation to the platform.
"We expect another 50 businesses to list in the lead up to summer," he said.
"We are now creating profiles of each of the businesses and it has just gone gang busters."
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