ON THE GRAPEVINE: Association kept busy with ministerial visits

OFFICIAL: NSW tourism minister Adam Marshall and Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Alliance chairman George Souris at the ministerial visit on May 5. Mr Marshall will return to the Hunter next month for the Clear View Hunter Valley Wine Show celebration lunch.

OFFICIAL: NSW tourism minister Adam Marshall and Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Alliance chairman George Souris at the ministerial visit on May 5. Mr Marshall will return to the Hunter next month for the Clear View Hunter Valley Wine Show celebration lunch.

It's been busy lately with official visits hosted by Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association. 

In addition to the separate visits by the Minister for Tourism Adam Marshall and the Minister for Trade, Investment and Agriculture Niall Blair, the HVWTA hosted a Vice-Regal visit by the Governor of NSW, His Excellency David Hurley and Mrs Linda Hurley.

The visit was staged at Drayton’s Family Wines and thanks go to John and Jan Drayton for hosting an afternoon tea roundtable. 

Minister Marshall's visit was hosted at Hunter Valley Gardens whilst Minister Blair's visit was hosted at Keith Tulloch Wines. 

The discussion at all these meetings was strongly focused on regional wine tourism. The Governor informed that all events and functions at Government House were with only NSW wines. There are 15 wines on the list, of which five are from the Hunter Valley. 

In this way the producing communities of food and wine in regional NSW directly benefit from these major events. 

The ministers and the Governor were given an outline of the need for greater tourism investment in destination marketing, particularly to capitalise on the pre-eminence of Hunter wines; the fact that the Hunter is the leading international wine tourism destination in Australia with a staggering 18.1 percent of overnight stays (compared with the Barossa at 9.4%, Yarra Valley at 17% and Margaret River at 13.4%), and of course the nearest to the five-million-plus population of Greater Sydney, Central Coast, the Hunter itself and the twin gateways of Sydney and Newcastle airports, together with a network of rail and road connections with the M1, Hunter Expressway, Golden Highway, New England Highway and the Pacific Highway all converging on the Hunter.

Earlier in the year the Hunter has hosted Federal Minister for Agriculture, Senator Anne Ruston, at Sebel Kirkton Park and Keith Tulloch Wines respectively.

These high-profile official visits help to keep Hunter Wine Country to the fore of decision makers and the touring public alike.

It gives the association, and the Alliance (incorporating Cessnock City Council and Singleton Council) vital stakeholder engagement at a high level on behalf of our tourism and wine industries. 

Just recently the Hunter Valley hosted a full NSW Cabinet visit at Singleton, with the main event being a large community morning tea at Singleton Civic Centre.

The Premier Gladys Berejiklian and a number of ministers addressed the morning tea. 

The HVWTA was strongly represented at the morning tea and also an open invitation pub dinner the night before at the Royal Hotel, Singleton.

Patrons bought their own meals and sat amongst the Cabinet, who had also lined up and purchased their meals there. 

The Minister for Tourism will be back in the Hunter next month as a special guest at the Clear View Hunter Valley Wine Show celebration lunch at Crowne Plaza. 

Jo Thomas is general manager of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association

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