GYMPIE region food producers took a step towards plugging themselves in to a $33 billion share of the tourist industry in Gympie yesterday.
The food and hospitality event, Gympie Region Unearthed, brought about 60 food producers into direct contact with chefs and accommodation providers.
The region's food and culinary tourism ambassador, Matt Golinski, hosted the event at the Gympie Civic Centre yesterday morning and council tourism development manager Andrew Saunders said it was a big success.
"It's a paddock to plate approach to promoting Gympie region produce," he said.
"When people go on holidays and eat out, they like to see locally produced food on the menu.
"It's a matter of tourism and hospitality providers linking up with food producers and working together.
"It's all about collaborative effort and networking," he said.
"We are also promoting the food trail concept, to give the region a viable, vibrant and diverse food tourist trail.
"People on holidays are motivated to explore local food and to visit the places that produce it. It's one of the tick-box items when people visit the area.
"Tourism in Australia is a $100 billion industry and one-third of all that spending is on food."
Mr Saunders said yesterday's event was also attended by chefs, including "one from Brisbane and a couple from Noosa."
"They are looking to buy fresh local produce and have it on their menus," he said.
Mr Saunders said a second event, on April 30, would bring the industry further together with a function at the Flame Hill vineyard and restaurant in Montville.
Vineyards provided a good example to food producers who could also have "cellar door sales," he said.
"A food trail enables visitors to know and recognise a food business brand.
"And they will then look for that brand when they shop.
"It's something we're talking about to Tourism Queensland and Sunshine Coast Destination," he said.