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November 18, 2016

Sub-Saharan Africa: National Wine Tourism Strategy Will Help Realize Potential of Wine and Food Tourism

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A more collaborative approach to the promotion of South Africa’s unique wine tourism offering and a new national wine tourism strategy is a step closer to being realised after The Business of Food and Wine Tourism Conference, which was recently held at Spier Wine Estate in Stellenbosch

“This is the start of a new journey. The strategy is being developed as a dynamic industry framework and practical plan. Our immediate priorities are to get buy-in from role players and to finalise the implementation plan with input from and alignment with government,” says Destinate’s Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, who was commissioned to develop an industry-led wine tourism plan, as part of the Wine Industry Strategic Exercise (WISE), an initiative that was introduced to promote a robust, adaptable and competitive industry. 

Minister Derek Hanekom, Minister of Tourism, said: “We support the development of a wine tourism strategy that will see the industry unite behind a common vision, brand and aligned plan to take wine tourism forward. We look forward to working with the industry to help realise the enormous potential wine tourism has in contributing to our country’s overall tourism growth.”  

VinPro, the organisation that represents South African wine cellars and wine grape producers, has provided funding to conclude the strategy and implementation plan and enable a number of interventions within the next twelve months. 

On the agenda is the development of a national wine tourism brand and message with a wine tourism marketing kit to train the trade and hospitality industry, providing them with the tools, message and visual inspiration to promote wine tourism more effectively. 

The establishment of a neutral wine tourism digital marketing platform with interactive website, activated social media platforms, aligned wine tourism event calendar and fresh content providing links to all the wine regions and routes for cross-marketing purposes is a priority. 

Visiting the winelands is listed as the second most popular experience by visitors on South African Tourism’s website, making alignment with the national tourism strategy and South African Tourism’s marketing plans and platforms a key priority. 

A global wine and food tourism campaign is being proposed, jointly funded through public and private sector contributions, and in close partnership with the South African Wine Routes Forum to identify and map the wine tourism levers within each wine region, including the Northern Cape and the Garden Route

A wine tourism research and training programme, which will provide industry and government with the much-needed intelligence, whilst mapping new wine tourism career paths and investing in service excellence in the industry, will be developed. 

“South Africa’s competitive edge is not only our wine, but also our hospitality and passionate people, matched with unique experiences, exceptional food and breath-taking scenery, all easily accessible to the visitor,” says Mariette. It is imperative that South Africa promote what is authentically South African and push the boundaries with innovation and dynamic marketing. To this end, the wine tourism strategy is a tourism strategy, not a wine strategy, aimed at increasing business and employment opportunities within the value-chain of hospitality and wine tourism, with the focus on small- to medium-sized enterprises and black-owned businesses that operate at a local level. 

A million bottles of South African wine are sold daily. This is a million opportunities to tell South Africa’s story through wine tourism,” added Mariette.  

Rico Basson, CEO of VinPro, is sure that this conference will have long term benefits for wine tourism and related industries: “We need to adapt to international trends, whilst offering the best authentic, local offerings. Wine tourism is a major revenue generator for South Africa, which already contributes about R6 billion to GDP. We are committed to increasing this figure to R15 billion by 2025. It also presents an important opportunity in terms of job creation. The wine industry value-chain currently employs in excess of 289 000 people and the new strategy will pave the way for significant growth in the wine tourism sector over the next 10 years.”

Siobhan Thompson, CEO of Wines of South Africa added: “South Africa exports wine to markets across the world. The bulk of SA’s exports are aligned with South Africa’s key source tourism markets like the EU, with exports to markets in the rest of Africa, the US and China growing. It makes sense for wine and tourism to collaborate and promote our wine tourism offering as a differentiating factor within our broader wine and tourism marketing initiatives.”

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