World wine tourism expo corked for a year

THE International Wine Tourism Conference and Expo scheduled to be held at the Leeuwin Estate on March 25-28 has been postponed for a year.

The event was expected to draw between 600 and 750 delegates and bring between $1.5 million to $2 million to WA. About two thirds of that was expected to be spent in the South West.

Event organiser Wine Tourism chairman Richard Campbell was unhappy with the number of registrations and amount of international participation.

It will be spending an extra year marketing the event. Mr Campbell said the event was about three quarters of the way there.

“We thought it better to postpone the event for a year to get better international representation,” he said.

Augusta-Margaret River Tour-ism Association general manager Dennis Kenny said the postpone-ment would not have a huge effect.

“It’s not like it’s an ongoing event that’s been yanked out from under us,” Mr Kenny said.

“March is traditionally a busy month for us anyway. We have the Leeuwin concert and the Wet Dreams Masters surfing event.”

Margaret River is also playing host to a Rotarians conference.

Mr Kenny said it would have been nice to have international wine journalists descending on the South West this year.

“But at this stage I’d prefer to see the event go ahead with better representation,” he said.

Despite the loss of the wine tourism conference, WA has had a good run with international events.

The Perth Convention Bureau has reported a strong eight-month performance generating con-ference, exhibition and incentive travel business worth more than $45 million in direct delegate spending.

PCB managing director Anne-Maree Ferguson is confident the bureau will meet its annual target of $81 million in secured business.

Beyond 2001, things are looking promising.

More than 4,000 fossickers from around Australian and overseas are expected to descend on Newman next year for the Australian Fossickers Convention and Festival – almost doubling the town’s population.

Perth has won the 550-delegate Australian Society for Ultra-sound in Medicine conference for 2003.

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