Food, wine festival pulls in punters

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A preliminary debrief of the inaugural Food and Wine Classic (FAWC) shows more than 3000 tickets were sold for the 53 events over the 10-day event which concluded in Hawke's Bay on Sunday, October 11.

The results were reported by Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas to the Hawke's Bay Regional Council this week, as part of the organisation's quarterly report.

"The event by all accounts has been successful and a core piece of the events strategy. We turned over $100,000 worth of tickets with a large number of visitors to the events, most from Hawke's Bay."

Ms Dundas said international visitors also arrived to attend FAWC, including two from Holland who had read about the event via the internet and booked their tickets online.

Councillors wanted to know specifics about where the event visitors had come from.

"We are still analysing the numbers and it's difficult because there were a lot of Hawke's Bay people booking tickets for visitors outside the region.

"We are going to conduct an events survey targeting people who registered on the FAWC website to get a better understanding of where they came from."

Other issues from the quarterly report included looking at ways to market the region's walking and cycling network to visitors and marketing Hawke's Bay to the Chinese tourism market.

"We have got fantastic trails but we have to work out how to market them. People understand the rail trail concept where they start at one end and finish at the other.

"Our trails allow visitors to experience the region but where do you start? That's a point we have to pick off."

Ms Dundas said China was now the second biggest tourist market accessing New Zealand with 34 per cent growth in visitors from the Asian nation in the past 12 months.

Councillor Eileen von Dadelszen said Hawke's Bay should learn how to tap into the number of Chinese visitors, offering them a change in location from the traditional Auckland, Rotorua and Queenstown stops.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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