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Australia’s love affair with food should become a major selling point for the country – but we need waiters and waitresses to serve it, tourism bosses say.

But tens of thousands of foreign bar staff, baristas and hotel workers will be needed to meet the expected 100,000 shortfall in staffing numbers as visitor numbers from Asia almost double by 2020.

With more than one million Chinese tourists a year tipped to visit Australia by the end of the decade spending about $10 billion, Mr McEvoy said food should take centre stage.