“International tourism reached new heights in 2015. The robust performance of the sector is contributing to economic growth and job creation in many parts of the world. It is thus critical for countries to promote policies that foster the continued growth of tourism, including travel facilitation, human resources development and sustainability” UNWTO

World Tourism Day is celebrated on the 27th of September to highlight the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. International tourism showed strong growth in 2015, with 2016 continuing the trend.  According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals grew by 5% between January and April 2016. Destinations worldwide received 348 million international tourists (overnight visitors) during the same period, some 18 million more than the same period last year.

People from all walks of life are keen to travel and enjoy new experiences, driving tourism growth both locally and internationally. Worldwide, a new generation of travellers are digitally savvy, use mobile devices and are eager to share their experiences with a worldwide audience.

‘Two-thirds of travellers book their vacation via online platforms’ Source: Tripadvisor Tripbarometer

Online bookings, automation and individualised packages that explore unique local offerings are also part of new travel trends. Research shows that the younger generation wants to immerse itself in new cultures (86 percent) and feast on local cuisine (69 percent).

Travellers are seeking new experiences: ‘learning something new’ and ‘trying something new’ are cited among the top five influencers when making travel plans’ Source: Tripadvisor Tripbarometer

The positive rise in tourism, along with strong interest in food and wine tourism, is an incentive for the local wine and tourism industry to pool resources and work together. The first-ever national wine tourism strategy will be presented at the upcoming The Business of Wine & Food Tourism Conference. The strategy includes a strategic framework that will allow all industry players to work together to allow South Africa to access part of the growing global tourism market.

The conference takes global trends and topical issues into consideration while encouraging implementation on a local level. Speakers and workshops will share up to date information which will provide delegates with relevant information and the skills needed to excel in this sector. For example Dr. Robin Back will present research on whether visitors buy more or less if wineries charge for tastings, and there is an outstanding panel on digital marketing – What’s Hot and What’s Not.

The programme also includes the following:

  • Min Derek Hanekom –   A New National Wine Tourism Strategy
  • Tim Harris, CEO Wesgro – The Business of Tourism in the Western Cape
  • Clay Gregory, CEO, Visit Napa Valley – The Story of Napa: What created the success?
  • J P Rossouw Publisher of Rossouw’s Restaurants and Platter’s SA Wine Guide – Eating South Africa: How do we plate ourselves for the world?
  • Mariette du Toit-Helmbold of Destinate- Global travel trends and the opportunities for wine tourism.
  • Matome Mbata, David Frost – Growing African Markets.

The conference will take place over two days at Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa, on 1 and 2 November 2016 and is open to local and international delegates. For more information, or to register, click HERE.  Be part of the conversation; follow the hashtag #WFConf2016 on Twitter or  Facebook for updates.