Wine tourism producing good fruits for Cape Town

As the world becomes smaller and more networked, niche tourism is gaining momentum as an important approach to identifying target markets and converting would be visitors. Tourism minister, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, has previously said that wine tourism contributes R5 billion to the local wine industry’s annual R22 billion turnover; making it an important contributor to sustained job creation and economic growth. The wine industry provides employment for 275 000 South Africans.

Wine tourism developed in South Africa in 1971 with the launch of the first wine route in Stellenbosch and has since been developed into more than 20 extensive wine routes in the Western and Northern Cape – making it one of the most significant tourism experiences in South Africa. The many wine routes in and around Cape have become one of our destination’s greatest assets with up to 70% of visitors to Cape Town including a visit to one of our wine routes in their itinerary. Above all, the winelands is a great example of experiential tourism. All our wine routes have three things in common – excellent wines, superb cuisine and some of South Africa’s most beautiful landscapes. Travellers interested in wine tourism choose a region to experience its character, food, lifestyle and cultural attractions. Wine estates are getting creative by offering paired menus, as well as chocolate and wine pairings, mountain bike trails, horse riding, open-air concerts and play areas for kids to further enhance the experience far beyond the end product of wine.

Earlier this year, The International Wine Review reported that South Africa produces some of the best sweet wines in the world and that wine tourism is better developed in South Africa than any other country, according to writers, Don Winkler and Mike Potashnik. They added, “While the country is located far from most foreign wine lovers, it offers huge rewards to those who visit its wine country.”

The wine trade is taking a serious role in further promoting this growing tourism charm. Its inaugural Vindaba event takes place in Cape Town from September 25 to 27, 2012 at the CTICC. Vindaba will run in conjunction with the Cape Wine 2012 event. Both events are exhibitions with a focus on trade promotion and exposure, however, Vindaba also seeks to attract international tour operators in order to introduce them to the hotels, restaurants, wine routes, farms and tour operators in the wine regions.

The potential for wine events and wine experiences is rapidly evolving with showcases like the Good Food and Wine Show, the TOPS Gugulethu Wine Festival, Soup Sip and Bread in Durbanville, and the Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson being just the tip of the iceberg.

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