Wine tourism taps into a steadily broadening stream of travellers who leave their homes and home countries for various reasons. What separates the places they visit from those they don’t?
Wine tourism can be defined as visiting vineyards, wineries and events such as wine festivals to taste wine and/or experience the features of a wine region. But wine tourism doesn’t operate in isolation. It’s part of a global system of destinations that are nested like a Russian doll, from continental tourism (Africa) to country (South Africa) and region (Western Cape), feeding into regional wine routes that connect a myriad of individual farms and venues each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
The six A’s of tourism
Destinations can be analysed according to the six A’s of tourism: accommodation, accessibility, activities, amenities, attractions and ambience. These are factors that influence a destination’s ability to draw visitors, and shortcomings in these areas are bound to limit options down the line.
1. Accommodation is whether or not a destination offers a place to stay overnight, including issues such as safety and affordability. In the Cape Winelands 50-60% of wine tourists are domestic day visitors who don’t plan to stay overnight. For overnight visitors, the average duration of stay is two to four nights. Most of them (42% domestic, 36% international) spend R500-R1 000 a day on accommodation, although international visitors (31%) are more willing to spend up to R2 000 a day on accommodation than domestic travellers (20%).
2. Access measures how a destination can be reached. In South Africa this is mostly by car or bus, with no large rivers or bodies of water to cross. Tour operators report that more than 90% of their itineraries for the Western Cape included a wine tour. In 2016, 99% of day trips and 70% of overnight trips in the Western Cape originated within the province, which represents a challenge – and opportunity – to persuade these visitors to venture further and stay longer. This can be as simple as providing transport to a popular or otherwise inaccessible spot, ideally with a cabin and spectacular view.
3. Amenities refer to supplementary, quality-of-life services such as running water and medical, cooking and sanitary facilities. Anyone who’s ever been on a hike knows these things are only negotiable to a certain point. Think of them as the “infrastructure of access”. South Africa’s excellent network of highway stops and farm stall restaurants have made ….