The bulk of SA’s wine exports are aligned with South Africa’s key source tourism markets like the EU, with exports growing to markets in the rest of Africa, the US and China. 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.
The success of the more established wine regions and cellars indicate that South Africa’s wine tourism and wine industry can compete globally. In 2012, South Africa’s wine tourism was rated the best-developed in the world by International Wine Review, one of the world’s most influential opinion formers on wine.
What’s in it for us?
Wine tourism, which is about the delivery and experience of a variety of tourism related activities within or around wine producing regions or routes, is a significant revenue generator for the South African economy and has the potential to provide many new business and employment opportunities. Wine tourism already contributes in excess of R6 billion to the GDP annually and with a national wine tourism strategy and coordinated plan, the aim is to increase that to R16 billion by 2025.
What is wine tourism?
The wine tourism initiative has a tourism focus, not a wine focus, 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.
This encompasses not only visitation to wineries, but also to wine regions in general, as well as to wine festivals and events, which may or may not take place within wine regions. The purpose of such travel includes food and drink rather than food and wine as other beverages, both alcoholic (e.g. spirits, beer) and non-alcoholic (e.g. juices, coffee) are also produced within wine regions; hospitality is a crucial component of tourism in general and wine and food tourism in particular; there are a multitude of activities available both on South African wine farms and throughout the wine regions; the scenery of South Africa’s wine regions is unsurpassed; and learning about and being immersed in different cultures and lifestyles are a big draw to tourists, especially the younger generational cohorts. Fostering sustainable economic development is included, as this is a crucial component of the wine tourism strategy.
Is job creation a focus area?
Tourism creates jobs on all skills levels, but especially among medium- and low-skilled residents, but there is often a disconnection between industry needs and training programmes. A key objective of the wine tourism strategy is to align existing training programmes and initiatives with what is actually required by the wine tourism industry.
The training and development programme developed as part of the wine tourism strategy and project will look specifically at hospitality training and skills development, identifying the most suitable interventions and training programmes. The focus will be on direct beneficiation.
The current training programmes pertaining to wine tourism and hospitality will be assessed, alignment opportunities identified and gaps or needs within the sector will be identified. The Transformation & Development division of VinPro, which provides tailor-made BEE guidance and focusses on the promotion of social development through dedicated ethical trade, training and research initiatives and funding will play a supporting role. The latter is funded via the VinPro Foundation NPC.
The way forward
Identify and map the wine tourism levers/icons within each region/route, which will best showcase and position South Africa’s wine (and food) tourism nationally and globally.
A neutral wine tourism digital marketing platform with interactive website, blogsite, activated social media platforms and fresh content providing links to all the wine regions and routes for cross marketing purposes.
Document the attributes and stories of wine regions, wine tourism role players and wine producers to use in the communications and marketing activations.
Package wine tourism experiences for promotion and distribution targeting the identified markets.
Develop a wine tourism marketing kit to equip trade and the hospitality industry on South Africa’s wine tourism offering and provide the tools to market and sell it.
Conceptualise South Africa’s first dedicated wine and food tourism campaign to be launched nationally and internationally after June 2017.
VinPro, through the WISE initiative, will continue to coordinate the project, manage the deliverables and provide oversight and reporting on the project plan and budget. An industry task team will be made up of industry representatives, representatives from WOSA, VinPro, Wesgro and the South African Wine Routes Forum.
The task team will play an advisory role (strategic input and oversight, development of a three year business plan and budget, providing technical expertise) until agreement is reached on the establishment of the South African Wine Tourism Council – due date June 2017.