23 Jan 2023


Noosa Eat and Drink Festival 2021

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Academic level: University

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Since March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the covid19 a global pandemic and set rules to help mitigate the spread. Governments and health systems worldwide responded by banning non-essential public gatherings, and those that continued had to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines as well as further precautions to improve sanitation ( Horng et al., 2013; Reade & Singleton, 2020) . The pandemic, therefore, led to the cancellation of numerous events, among them the Noosa Eat and Drink Festival 2020. The planned event for the 2020 event was cancelled in a press release. Though the Noosa Eat and Drink Festival is essential for Noosa’s tourism economy, the financial risks are not worth the lives of both the locals and the visitors. As a consequence of the cancellation, Noosa Eat and Drink Festival organization team will provide full refunds. Two things should be noted, however. First, the cancellation of the 2020 event means that planning for 2021 will be bigger and better. 

Secondly, while waiting and preparing for the 2021 event, public relations should be fully utilized. Traditionally, the role public relations played was primarily to promote the events from one year after the other. However, the pandemic has provided an opportunity for the public relations team for the Noosa Eat and Drink Festival to engage deeply with the customers. For instance, unlike previous festivals, there is an opportunity for deeper engagement between all the stakeholders through social media campaigns. Furthermore, these engagement opportunities (which shall be explained in a later section) could be a precursor for a series of events that climax with the 2021 relaunch. The continuity and middle of the year engagement could prove to be an excellent opportunity to build the brand further, increase its reach, and attract even more visitors and participants in the future. 

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There are a number of potential threats and challenges to be overcome before launching the 2021 event. First, it is still uncertain whether the pandemic will go on till next year and the impact it will have. Though economies are slowly reopening, they are doing so with extreme caution. For instance, for countries and states that reopened early, the second wave of infections had a greater impact than the first. Therefore, there are lingering worries about the aftermath of a third wave. Secondly, the pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on two crucial industries. First, supply chains have been affected, meaning sourcing ingredients for some of the local delicacies could be difficult. Secondly, air travel has been hit worse, and it is uncertain when travellers will regain the confidence of travelling safely. So far, no aerospace company, aircraft manufacturer, or airline company has successfully retrofitted their aircraft with systems that protect the passengers from the virus. These two are external threats that should be accounted for when relaunching in 2021. The problem, however, is that the public relations team at Noosa Eat and Drink Festival have little to no control over these factors. 

On the other hand, there are two internal factors that the team has moderate control over. First, the psychological impact of the pandemic will remain that even after the pandemic, people will be reluctant to travel immediately. Tourism and travel will return to their original numbers after a while, but it is unreasonable to expect it to be by 2021. Therefore, part of preparing to launch the 2021 event would be to target the psychological state of the event participants. Secondly, the format of the 2021 event is bound to change. Owing to the social distancing and other public health regulations, it still remains to be determined to the impact it will have on interactions, satisfaction, and future considerations. After all, the full sociological impact of the pandemic has yet to be studied and countered. This is, therefore, another challenge to be overcome while planning. 


There are two challenges to be overcome, as explored in the previous section. However, since this is a report that recommends a specific promotional activity using social and traditional media, the recommendations for the second challenge will only be presented. In other words, external challenges, such as the reopening of the economies and lifting of travel restrictions, are beyond the control of the event organizers. Furthermore, there is no data available that could be used to make alternative plans or, at best, perform a comprehensive risk analysis and make recommendations from the conclusions. On the other hand, the internal challenges (psychological and sociological impact) are things the event organizers can control. Therefore, the question is what ideas and strategies can be used to aid relaunch the Noosa Eat and Drink Festival 2021 edition. Note that there will be two sources of ideas and strategies. First, there are original ideas from the public relations teams and other individuals participating in the planning. Secondly, ideas could also be sourced from similar festivals, especially how they have been promoted and adapting the ideas for the relaunch. 

Answer and Justification 

The first idea will be to take the event online. Similar events, like the Taste of Buffalo, have adopted the strategy. Instead of bringing foodies and other tourists to one destination, the event could be held online. However, it is impossible to gain satisfaction by watching or attending as a virtual persona. This can be resolved by organizing the event in two parts. The first part will be showcasing things like cooking demonstrations, performances, online games, and food-related entertainment mirrored from the actual events. The cooking demonstrations are especially important for the second part. In the second part, there will be a virtual competition, where all the participants get to compete on who makes the best category of food. For instance, the 2020 event was themed to be a celebration of Australian talent and delicacies. The competitors (event participants), therefore, would get show off their talent, skill and gain recognition from their peers. 

However, there is one condition that must be fulfilled before guaranteeing success with the idea. All the logistics would have to be in place. In other words, in the first part where the cooking demonstrations were happening, the event organizers would put the participants in contact with suppliers for the ingredients. By the time the competition starts, everything would have been shipped and ready. This idea has merit for two reasons. First, it allays all psychological concerns and fears about spreading the virus because the participants will be enjoying themselves from the comfort of their homes. Secondly, it retains the most crucial element of the Festival, connecting people together through their love of food. Besides, through social media, it has the potential to attract more participants than before because most of the people spend their days indoors. 

Unfortunately, not all participants will be active in the first or the second section of the plan. Therefore, there needs to be a reason to attract participation. One such reason would be a virtual takeout. The event organizers will have to liaise with restaurants, vendors, and suppliers in regions where the participants will be located to create special and themed takeout menus for the duration of the Festival for as long as supplies last. Achieving success with this idea would require not only intensive social media marketing but also a deep engagement with the participants to map the regions interested in the events. Accurate mapping would enable the festival organizers to liaise with local vendors and restaurants to prepare and publish takeout menus. Note that most of these takeout foods would have to be delivered to the customers, requiring a fast and reliable delivery service. As a result, success with this part of the plan will largely depend on external stakeholders. Therefore, proper selection of partners is paramount. 


The ideas proposed for relaunching the 2021 event have merit for several reasons. First, they encourage participation. The competition, for instance, gives the participants the opportunity to show off online and gain credibility. This alone is incentive enough for most people. Secondly, the online event aims at breaking the monotony created by the pandemic. Therefore, creativity, fun, and novelty that goes into implementing the relaunch are bound to attract attention. Besides, the event is themed, which promotes a cause. For instance, if the theme is a celebration of Australian talent and delicacies, holding the cooking demonstrations would enable the audience to learn to prepare different meals, thus adding Australian cuisine to their palette. The impact goes beyond achieving the objectives of the relaunch. 

Besides, the successful implementation would require extensive planning and cooperation with partners. This is enough incentive for the partners, such as restaurants, to build brand awareness, acquire and retain customers. For instance, ordering food online was once considered a luxury. However, due to the pandemic, it has become a daily necessity. The event will provide exposure to the partners, thus becoming a source of competitive advantage. Note that these event ideas are proposed with the assumption that even if the pandemic has reduced by 2021, the impact will be long-lasting. Furthermore, these ideas are not limited to the 2021 relaunch but could also be extended and integrated with future plans. 


Horng, J. S., Su, C. S., & So, S. I. A. (2013, July). Segmenting food festival visitors: Applying the theory of planned behavior and lifestyle. In  Journal of Convention & Event Tourism  (Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 193-216). Taylor & Francis Group. 

Reade, J. J., & Singleton, C. (2020).  Demand for Public Events in the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case Study of European Football  (No. em-dp2020-09). Henley Business School, Reading University. 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Noosa Eat and Drink Festival 2021.


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