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Best practices in global wine tourism

March 19, 2014 by Claudia Ortiz | in News, Tourism

During her visit to Mendoza, Liz Thach, professor of Wine Business and Management at Sonoma University, California, gave lectures on the US market and wine tourism. About the latter, she offered some interesting advice in order to foster this activity and for wineries to increase their wine sales through this kind of tourism.

Wine tourism provides several benefits to a certain wine region, such as the profits that wineries obtain, new consumers and their loyalty towards a brand, and the potential commercial links with hotels, restaurants, tourism agencies, etc.

As regards wine tourism revenues in 2012, Thach provided very interesting data for the industry. For example, California tourism amounted to USD 106.4 billion in 2012, generating 917 thousand new jobs. That year, in Napa Valley, visitors garnered profits of USD 1.4 billion and particularly in our province, USD 31 million in 2010.

12 best practices of wine tourism to bear in mind

As Liz expressed during the seminar, tourism is the largest industry in the world and the private and public sectors should work together to invest in wine roads, offering road sings, providing hotel and food services near to wineries.

Secondly, there should be collaboration among the different tourism-related agents such as tourist information center, transportation companies, airports, hotels, and restaurants to foster wine tourism.

Then, she urged to take into account the organization of special wine events or festivals, “I’ve attended a lot of them, but I‘ve never seen such a big festival like the National Grape Harvest Festival, not only for its quality but also for its length.”

In relation to experiential wine programs, the professional mentioned some examples carried out in successful regions: wine blending seminars where visitors make their own wines, dog walks and jeep rides in the vineyards, tours combining boasts, kayak or airplanes with wine tastings.

As fifth practice, Liz said that it is necessary to make stress on food and wine matching, such as the wine and paella event in Mexico or Tuscany, where agro-tourism is really important.

Then the expert highlighted the architecture focus as sixth practice. “I’ve seen that Mendoza is doing very well in this respect. Tourists like to visit the place where wine is produced as well as the concept of family, old and boutique winery,” maintained the expert

“Green” or Ecotourism Focus, is other of the practices to bear in mind. “It is a tourism for those who seek organic and biodynamic wines, or those who enjoy nature and outdoor activities,” added Thach.

Another cutting-edge practice is the joint work among different companies to offer unique wine tours such as, wine and golf, wine and spa, wine and business conventions, etc.

In addition, the professional spotlighted that Chacras de Coria may become a “wine villages” like Chateauneuf du Pape, Montalcino in Italy, Los Olivos in California, “It is a small town in a wine region that is designed specifically around the theme of wine, embracing wineries, hotels, restaurants and offering leisure activities, “ maintained Liz Thach.

In tenth place, the expert mentioned the importance of being kind to tourists, “people remember friendship, kindness, cordial service, and it is crucial not to force visitors to make the tour around the winery, because sometimes they only want to try or buy the wine.”

Another item that is increasingly practiced in wineries is the regional promotion through clear messages, regional websites, advertising, special programs for people to visit the regions, and the use of social media. “Web sites should suggest some routes specially designed by varietal wine. There should also be an organized system for tourist to have easily access to all wineries’ links. Moreover, it is really important to include hotel and restaurant information,” pointed out Thach, who added that web sites such as Trip Advisor, Twitter, Facebook or YouTube are really popular when tourists seek information on which winery to visit, “It is necessary to design websites for mobile phones as well as the use of GPS to find easily the destination.” The wine-tourism expert stressed the boom of “Wine Region Apps Online Coupons”, which are discount tickets bought by tourists to visit different wineries.

Finally, Liz Thach mentioned as #12 practice the measurement of annual revenues at winery from wine tourism in order to assess the big economic impact of this activity on the region.

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