Australian cuisine might be hard to define but tourism officials are banking on our multicultural offerings to increase traveller numbers through the next phase of their global marketing campaign.
Tourism Australia is launching ''Restaurant Australia'' at a wine conference in Adelaide on Monday, which will create a stronger focus on food and wine experiences.
''There is a growing appetite globally for food and wine as part of travel and Australia has all the right ingredients to capitalise on this,'' managing director Andrew McEvoy said. ''To me, the world came to Australia and created its own flavours and we're a fusion country, literally a melting-pot.''
After ''safety and security'' and ''value for money'', Australia's top 15 tourism markets ranked ''good food, wine, local cuisine and produce'' as the third most important factor when choosing destinations, research showed. For the first time, tourists prioritised food and wine experiences over ''world class beauty and natural environments''.
Tourism Australia was spurred into action when more research showed only 26 per cent of people who had never been to Australia linked it with good food and wine. Those who had visited ranked it second for gastronomic offerings after France and ahead of Italy.
''So that was the trigger,'' Mr McEvoy said. ''Often marketers over-promise and products under-deliver. But in this case we're absolutely under-promising and the product is over-delivering.''
While ''Restaurant Australia'' will not be personality driven, chefs such as Michael Moore and Kylie Kwong are working with Tourism Australia to develop it for the long term.
Mr McEvoy hinted celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Rick Stein, who have publicly declared their love for Australian cuisine, could be engaged for future campaigns.
Chef Neil Perry said his job was to provide exceptional service and food through his Rockpool restaurants to ensure campaign promises were met and tourists ''walked away saying 'wow'.''
Australia possessed a unique advantage over culinary heavyweights Italy and France, he said. ''I honestly get bored of being in France, and in a week, I'm just dying for chilli, fish sauce and soy.''