Dunedin food tours on international menu

When international tourist wholesalers go shopping for New Zealand attractions next month, they will find a new Dunedin offering available.

Wellington company Zest Food Tours plans to market food tours of Dunedin at Trade and Enterprise's annual tourism business showcase in Rotorua on May 26.

The showcase is where those who operate cruise ships and package tours negotiate deals with New Zealand tourist businesses.

Zest co-owner Catherine Cordwell said yesterday the company would be marketing Dunedin food tours to cruise ships and conferences in the first year and would expand to include tourists travelling independently in the following year.

The tours would begin on September 1 and Zest was in discussion with Dunedin companies interested in being involved.

These included Gourmet Ice Cream, Emerson Brewing, Southern Clams, Evansdale Cheese Factory and Scotia Restaurant and Whisky Bar, as well as some Central Otago wineries.

Dunedin food writer Judith Cullen was also involved in discussions.

‘‘The possibilities are endless. You've got some great food products down in the Dunedin region, especially the seafood.''

Zest has been operating in Wellington for five years and Ms Cordwell said it had grown 120% last year.

The company was invited to Dunedin late last year to offer advice on food tours to a small group brought together by the Dunedin City Council's economic development unit.

Zest was talking to Dunedin people interested in running the tours and was still looking for part-time guides who ‘‘have got that real passion for looking after people, love food and love the region they live in''.

Ms Cordwell believed Zest had built up good contacts in the ‘‘travel trade'' and about half its business came through the Trenz showcase.

‘‘You could spend thousands flying around the world meeting travel agents and travel wholesalers but all the main ones come to see you at that one place. It's good value.''

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