REGIONAL tourism is the winner of the launch of the country's most comprehensive culinary travel mobile application.
Created by Australia's online wine and food travel guide, VisitVineyards.com, the free iPhone app will allow travellers, for the first time, to locate thousands of vineyards and cellar doors, restaurants, food producers and sellers, markets, accommodation options, and more, across every State in Australia - on the go.
Tasmania's Minister for Tourism Scott Bacon said hospitality and tourism are very important industries for the Australian economy and it is vital that we continue to grow these sectors.
"The development of this application is a great step in helping us in this area. The fact that the application was developed Tasmania is a great coup for the state and demonstrates the kind of innovation and creativity which is driving economic growth in Australia."
Australian Tourism Export Council chairman, John King OAM, who has more than three decades' experience in the tourism industry, said it's imperative that the industry continues to move with technology, and the Visit Vineyards iPhone app is a prime example of that.
"Consumers increasingly want access to travel experiences on the go, and this type of initiative is vital in meeting that consumer demand for a richer food and wine travel experience, and for linking particular experiences to visitors who are seeking them.
"We must take advantage of the technology available to increase tourism to regional Australia. VisitVineyards.com is to be commended for developing this nationwide app, and in doing so driving much needed tourism to the regions, and specifically directly to those small wine and food producers and growers who need it most."
The brainchild of VisitVineyards.com founder and CEO Robyn Lewis, who with husband Charles also runs a farm and vineyard in Southern Tasmania, said she's looking forward to seeing regional Australia reap some benefits from this app.
"We're well aware, operating our own small vineyard, of the challenges smaller tourism operators face and this app meets the demand by travellers, who are interested in culinary experiences, to be able to directly access great eateries, wineries and accommodation on the go, and connect with the people behind the products."
She said there's nothing as comprehensive as this available for food and wine travellers anywhere in the country which "allows them to search literally thousands of food and wine experiences, provides directions and maps where they are located, and the best options literally in their own vicinity."
"It's free for operators to be included too, so the coverage is comprehensive and it allows for small, boutique producers to be included.
In a further effort to assist regional Australia, Lewis is launching the app in conjunction with a promotion of two Australian regions which have suffered in the recent adverse weather events and downturn: the Whitsundays in North Queensland, who are offering a ten day holiday experience for two, and Tasmania, where a seven-day holiday package for two is up for grabs.