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Future of Wine Tourism Charted

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Are virtual goggles likely to be part of wine tourism's future? Are virtual goggles likely to be part of wine tourism's future?

TASTE News Service, November 3, 2020 -- Knowledge & business were the International Wine Tourism Conference’s (IWINETC) five-day theme this year for more than 300 registered delegates from some 25 different countries.

Participants tuned in from diverse grape escape destinations such as Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, Serbia, UK, USA to name a few and from host region, Friuli Venezia Giulia and many other regions of Italy.

The two day Wine Tourism B2B Workshop between agents and media and wine tourism experience providers had more than 700 appointments scheduled and proved to be the business highlight of the 5 day event with many more meetings conducted after the meeting schedule through online meeting platforms.

IWINETC was scheduled to happen in person 27 – 29 October 2020 and to be hosted in the beautiful and spectacular grape escape destination that is Friuli Venezia Giulia with the support of Premium sponsors Promoturismo FVG

The three-day conference program saw a lineup of world class speakers providing excellent and relevant presentations for attendees to savor in these difficult times. Anthony Swift, the Event Director, provides some of the salient points from the conference talk program:

“On day one Lucio Gomiero uncorked IWINETC giving delegates a taste of the Wine and culinary delights of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. Chris Torres kept our spirits up by suggesting that the way forward at least in the next 12-18 months is to focus on domestic markets – staycation to coin a new word for the Oxford English dictionary. Jonathan Gomez Punzon of the United Nations World Tourism Organization gave a bitter taste of the new reality, the new normal but then served up that wine tourism and rural tourism are one of the safest kinds of tourism and will thrive during these challenging times but we have to adapt by providing safe experiences, by partnering up within a given destination, by providing excellence – a reason to travel he stated.

Day two saw WTM’S Responsible Tourism Advisor, Harold Goodwin, present “The Business Advantage of Responsible Tourism”. Responsible Tourism is important for providing authentic experiences and ensuring that wine tourists do not have negative experiences. Caring for customers tailoring to their needs – show respect and care. You are only strong as the weakest link in your chain he said. Bubbly Judith Lewis gave us food for thought when it comes to Post-Covid Website Optimisation and Digital Marketing in the Wine Tourism Industry. Cristina Mascanzoni Kaiser, speaking live from a winery on Lake Garda, defined the luxury traveler of today as being a person seeking tailor-made experiences according to culture, a wine lover looking for a unqiue offer and for a wine tourism experience provider to be trained and responsible. She coined the phrase Be Hospitalian! Francesco Bacarini topped up day two showing delegates the online booking platform Vitinera where a DIY wine tourist can book a winery visit in the Friuli Venezia Giulia and in other wine regions of Italy. A useful tool still in the fermentation stage.

Day three saw Marianna Sigala give a seminar  on wine tourism Innovation during COVID-19 and this was followed by  a seminar on “How to  Improve Customers’ Experience for Wine through Technologies” with speaker Roberta Garibaldi. Peter Syme stressed the importance of understanding the customer journey and a few dos and don’ts when it comes to using online travel agents. Champagne Tourist Board Director Philippe Harant presented the Winetourism Lab project which aims to assist (coaching, financial advice….) wine tourism business initiatives in the region. Following on was a presentation of The Lower Austrian Wine Region.

In the closing plenary session Anthony Swift ended the IWINETC 2020 conference program by saying “Despite the challenging times we find ourselves in, the wine tourism industry is clearly on the rise and people are looking online for wine tourism, accommodation and complementary activities to do in a wine region such as wine country bike tours, trekking and tasting, yoga, a place where kids can run around doing treasure hunts and so on. Chris Torres showed us this in his talk on day one”.

Swift went on to say: “You right now are in the right business. We must now invest in our marketing efforts, take heed of all the advice given by our expert speakers, sit down with a glass of your favorit wine and watch the conference replays, take notes, think, action. You will win. You will thrive. You will be enjoying the new vintages when others with their heads in the sand will not or may well not. The future is bright for all who understand that wine tourism is a sustainable business opportunity”

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