May 6, 2024

Stellenbosch hosts annual Wine Tourism Conference highlighting industry growth

The 8th Annual Wine Tourism Conference, scheduled for 30 May 2024, presents an impressive lineup of international and local speakers tackling “The Business Case for Wine Tourism.” Set in the scenic Stellenbosch at Lanzerac, the event is designed to underscore the expanding of wine tourism, evidenced by significant increases in international tourist arrivals and heightened activity at Cape Town International Airport. Spearheaded by tourism and hospitality specialist Margi Biggs, the conference aims to showcase the upward trajectory of South African wine tourism, a trend that mirrors global movements despite local industry challenges.

Rico Basson, CEO of South Africa Wine, highlights the sector’s “exponential growth,” with the winelands drawing visitors globally. The forthcoming Winelands airport, expected to be operational by 2027, is anticipated to further boost this trend, positioning Cape Town and its surrounding winelands as key destinations for wine enthusiasts. The conference features prominent figures such as Paul Wagner, a noted authority in US wine tourism and marketing, and Peter McAtamney from Wine Business Solutions, who will provide insights into effective marketing and business strategies for enhancing wine tourism revenue. Mike Ratcliffe, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Route, will discuss profitability enhancement strategies in wine tourism, reflecting the area’s distinguished wine industry position.

Other speakers include Mark Wilkinson of the Cape Winelands Airport and Kevin Campbell from Delta Air Lines, focusing on the critical role of air access to wine regions. Francois Rautenbach will explore the interplay between tourism and wine, drawing from his experience with Singita’s Premier Wine Direct programme.

The event will also feature discussions on the value of tasting room sales conversions and the keys to building a successful wine tourism business, led by experts like Eric Matkovich and Xania van der Merwe. Following the presentations, workshops will provide deeper dives into these subjects, culminating in a closing session and an informal wine tasting by the Stellenbosch Wine Route. This conference represents a crucial gathering for wine tourism stakeholders, offering valuable insights, strategic guidance, and networking opportunities aimed at navigating and capitalizing on the evolving landscape of wine tourism.