A Food and Wine Tourism Market Report released by Wesgro and Explore Sideways at the end of 2019 indicated that 63% of tour operators believed the market grew in 2018, the total spend per trip increasing to above R60 000.
“People are moving away from generic itineraries in search of something more unique. South Africa’s huge cultural and natural diversity, along with the world-class food and wine offering positions us perfectly to significantly grow the tourism market,” Vinpro wine tourism manager Marisah Nieuwoudt says.
The International Wine Review and United Nations Tourism Organisation singled South Africa out as one of the best developed wine tourism destinations globally in 2012 and 2016. Lonely Planet identified the Cape Winelands as one of the global Top Ten Best Value Destinations, while Vergelegen Estate, Delaire Graff Estate and Creation Wines were listed as Top 50 Wine Destinations in the World. South Africa also has the longest wine route in the world, spanning six wine regions.
Wine tourism helps to establish a personal connection with consumers, enhances brand loyalty, adds value to existing activities and boosts sales. It can also grow the job market as it has a low barrier to entry. Research will be conducted in the course of 2020 into the value of wine tourism, along with a skills audit to identify training opportunities.
Wine tourism plan
The wine and brandy industry has been serious about wine tourism since 2015, identifying it as a growth driver in the industry’s strategic framework, WISE (Wine Industry Strategic Exercise). A wine tourism plan was released, along with a digital visitor-facing platform Visitwinelands.co.za. Vinpro established a wine tourism desk to coordinate efforts of relevant parties including Wesgro, the SA Wine Route Forum, Wines of South Africa (WoSA) and the Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM).
In 2019 Vinpro, with the support of the CWDM, launched a free online Wine Tourism Toolkit and hosted a successful series of wine tourism workshops to help related businesses establish or expand their footprint.