Wellington Culinary Events Trust Board chair, Fran Wilde Wellington Culinary Events Trust Board chair, Fran Wilde

Eat, drink and be Welly

International visitors spend more on food and beverage in Wellington than anywhere else in the country and that figure could increase even more, with plans to send the city’s winter food festival onto the international stage.
At the launch of the Visa Wellington on a Plate (VWOAP) programme, Wellington Culinary Events Trust Board chair, Fran Wilde, said the annual festival has grown as much as it can grow in its present form.

‘You are going to see an incremental change to get international tourists come here in August.

They are not to just go on a ski holiday in the South Island. We will need to work with our partners (to achieve this) and we are looking forward to discussions with Tourism New Zealand,’ she added.
Food tourism is increasingly important to New Zealand as we develop our own unique food culture, and Wellington is becoming the destination to come to for food, said Tourism Minister, Paula Bennett, also speaking at the launch.

‘In Wellington food and beverage accounts for 28% of international visitor spend, compared with 23% nationwide.’
A new Chef Collaboration Series introduced this year will kick off the international appeal. Headline act will be Kiwi-born chef Ben Shewry, whose Melbourne restaurant Attica is included in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Shewry is returning to his roots to create a degustation long lunch with local chef, mentor and trainer, Mark Limmacher.
All the old VWOAP favourites continue for 2017; Garage Project Burger Wellington (with a whopping 123 entries), Beervana, Dine Wellington (140 restaurants and 20 food truck each featuring a ‘Festival Dish’) along with hundreds of special events.

The festival will take place from 11 to 27 August.