A SENIOR executive with drinks giant Diageo is considering a visit to Bundaberg next year to get a closer look at the operations of Bundaberg Rum, part of its worldwide stable of companies.
A spokeswoman for Diageo said no dates had yet been set for the visit by Gilbert Ghostine, head of the firm's Asia-Pacific and Europe arm, but that he hoped to make an announcement early in the new year.
If Mr Ghostine does visit the city, he will get a warm welcome from Member for Hinkler Paul Neville, who said yesterday he was ready to work side by side with the company to help promote the birthplace of Bundaberg Rum.
"I think a visit by the company's Asia-Pacific boss would deepen his own understanding of the local operation, and help build the profile of the company, its history and its iconic rum products," Mr Neville said.
"People tend to take for granted that anyone who buys a product knows the town where it comes from, but that's not necessarily the case.
"When a region's reputation is bolstered by the production of quality food, wine or other produce, it tends to attract a whole different range of visitors - visitors who are ready, willing and able to spend their money on unique, high-quality produce and seafood."
In a wide-ranging interview in a national paper, published last week, Mr Ghostine said a visit to Bundaberg would be a sign of the importance the group placed in its Australian operations.
He said Queensland accounted for a third of the group national sales.
Mr Ghostine, who is based in Singapore, said he saw potential for greater penetration of the Bundaberg brand in some Asia-Pacific markets, particularly those where Australians went on holiday.
He is also keen to focus on developing markets in China, South-East Asia and India, which he predicted would see strong growth next year.
Diageo is Australia's largest spirits maker, with key brands including Johnnie Walker and Bundaberg Rum.
It is also the only global spirits producer that has manufacturing interests in Australia.
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