Margaret River and the South-West region’s tourism, hospitality and events scene have been bolstered, with the popular Cabin Fever Festival set to return with an expanded program of events in 2023 and 2024. The 10-day food, wine and entertainment festival is spread across the South-West, with key events in Margaret River and Busselton, and further pop-up events spread across the region.
The 2023 and 2024 Cabin Fever Festival events are expected to attract thousands of visitors to the South-West and Warren-Blackwood regions and generate millions of dollars for the local economy, with the number of businesses participating in the festival set to grow significantly in the coming years.
The current program of events, which includes long-table dining experiences and food and wine masterclasses, will also expand to include a new festival hub, the development of new Aboriginal event content and a boost in marketing for the event.
A surge in popularity of this year’s event saw more than 30 regional businesses manage nearly 50 of their own events, including luxury farm stay and winery Burnside Organic Farm, and other venues hosting a wide array of events such as winter-themed bonfires, toastie championships, live music and more.
The 2023 festival will run from 14 to 23 July and offer a mixture of free and ticketed events, encouraging visitors to enjoy the region during the off-peak season.
In the year ending June 2022, an estimated 1.7 million overnight visitors were reported for the Margaret River region, which is six per cent more visitors compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.
Visitors from within the State increased by 24 per cent in this region, while the wider South-West region benefited from a nine per cent jump in visits by Western Australian locals.
It comes as WA was named by Lonely Planet as one of the 30 best places in the world to visit in 2023, and Perth to Margaret River as one of the top 5 journeys.
Lonely Planet also singled out a 7-day foodie adventure from Perth to the South-West as one of the world’s ultimate journeys, highlighting Margaret River, Manjimup, Pemberton, Bunbury through to Rockingham and Fremantle.
WA’s popularity has also been recognised by global media company FORBES naming Perth as one of the Top 10 places to visit in 2023, and Perth as the only Australian destination recognised, with the capital noted for offering a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere and a unique water-focused lifestyle.
The State’s growing tourism and hospitality scenes have also been marked with WA’s small bar transformation celebrating 15 years.
In the past five years, 12 small bar licenses have been granted in the Warren-Blackwood region, following a lull of only one license granted in the five years prior to 2017 before the McGowan Government took office.
The McGowan Government remains committed to activating entertainment precincts, supporting local jobs and creating a more diverse, sophisticated, and creative hospitality sector which stems from significant reforms made in 2007 by the then Racing and Gaming Minister Mark McGowan, and has launched a review of the liquor legislation, delivering on an election commitment.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“The South-West of our State is a well-known tourism, hospitality and event hot spot, and continues to grow in popularity with those out of town, bouncing back even stronger than pre-COVID-19 levels.
“Investing in events like this adds certainty for the region with major events and initiatives to attract people throughout the year, supporting tourism operators and businesses directly, and sustains jobs on or off-peak.”
As stated by Tourism Minister Roger Cook:
“This increased funding commitment for Cabin Fever Festival is testament to the festival’s huge growth in popularity, especially among out-of-region visitors.
“The McGowan Government, through Tourism WA, is proud to increase support for this popular event with the festival set to continue to provide the perfect opportunity for visitors and locals to escape the winter blues, let their hair down and explore the bounty of the South-West.”
As stated by Regional Development Minister and South West Region MLC Alannah MacTiernan:
“Cabin Fever Festival spreads the tourism offering to the quieter months, helping businesses prosper and be less reliant on seasonal employment.
“It brings together all the strengths of the South-West landscape, wine, food and music. We are proud to support it.”
As stated by Warren-Blackwood MLA Jane Kelsbie:
“The even bigger 2023 and 2024 Cabin Fever Festival will provide a huge boost to the local economy and is a fantastic promotion of the region’s gastronomic, artistic and entertainment offerings.
“It’s wonderful we have a mix of events throughout the year that plays to our great assets, like our beaches, wineries, national parks and more, which attract visitors to our region over the summer or winter.”
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