Uncorking tourism potential

Kristin MacfarlaneSouth Western Times

A new tourism push will use the Geographe region’s quality wines to draw people to Harvey, Donnybrook, Ferguson Valley and Capel rather than letting them drive past.

The Bunbury Geographe Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Geographe Wine Industry Association are joining forces to ensure the region’s wine industry is recognised as a major drawcard to ensure people visit the quality wineries from Harvey to Busselton rather than bypassing them for those in Margaret River.

A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed this month and association president Simon Holthouse is excited about the partnership which he hoped would result in more visitors planning trips specifically to experience a tour of all wineries in the region.

He said it was not about encouraging people not to head south, but more about including the Geographe region into their plans.

Mr Holthouse said the wine industry was essentially part of the tourism industry and ensuring people knew the quality of wines was just as good as anywhere else in the State could boost tourism numbers and the economy.

“We recognise that we are part of the wine industry and a broader tourism offering for the region,” Mr Holthouse said.

All groups would work together to achieve the one goal of destination marketing, promoting the region as a location they spend time in rather than drive through.

“We all benefit by talking to each other, helping each other,” Mr Holthouse said.

“This is not a competition, this is about working together to promote what is already there.”

Chamber chief executive Ray Philp said the wine industry played an important role in the success of the Geographe region.

He said showcasing all wineries to ensure the region as a whole was recognised for its products would benefit the whole community.

“It’s having that one brand that people are referring to ... it’s important that we’re all across what each other’s doing.”

Mr Philp said it was not about focusing on one area of the region as a place but the whole region as an attraction, supporting and celebrating each other to cross promote products and experiences.

Chamber president David Kerr said the aim of the MOU was to ensure all groups were working cohesively towards one common goal to connect the region.

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