Wine Tourism – the fruits of the vine

The wine tourism sector is growing fast worldwide and plays an especially important role in South Africa.

As reported by Tourism Update Online, South African Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk recently spoke at Spier Estate, outside Stellenbosch, about South Africa’s potential in the wine tourism sector, placing special emphasis on the importance of securing its place on the map as a wine tourism destination.

He spoke about the wine tourism sector’s significant contributions towards economic growth and job creation in South Africa, mentioning the estimated R4.3-billion generated by wine tourism in 2009.
“Wine tourism is a vital product offering as it helps improve the country’s competitiveness against destinations like Brazil, Australia, Kenya and Thailand,” said Van Schalkwyk.

“Some of the key focus areas of the National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS) include the increase of tourist arrivals to South Africa, further developing the domestic tourism sector, the promotion of events tourism, niche product development and rural tourism promotion. I believe wine tourism can contribute to each of these goals in a significant way and we look forward to continued constructive engagement with the industry in this regard.”

Who are our wine tourists?

According to a study conducted by South African Wine in 2006/07, reported on by the Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) in their Western Cape Tourism Barometer, 2007, “our neighbours”, i.e. domestic tourists, make up the majority of the wine tourism market in South Africa. Furthermore, the study found that most of these wine tourists reside in the Western Cape (54%), followed by Gauteng (28%).

The study found that domestic tourists have the highest repeat visitation rate, the highest tendency to purchase wine and the highest average spend on wine when they purchase it, compared to the UK, USA and German tourists.

So, in proudly South African fashion, locals love the incredible wine South Africa has to offer. It seems the wine tourism sector in South Africa will always have strong roots from which to grow even further in the international market.

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