Tourism is one of six identified key drivers of the country’s economy, according to the national Department of Tourism. Furthermore, the wine industry indirectly contributes more than R4.5 billion annually to the tourism sector, as per the latest report generated by South African Wine Industry Information and Systems (SAWIS), writes Abigail Germany.
The report also states that the local wine industry supports employment opportunities to the tune of 275,606 jobs – the bulk of which are in the trade, catering, accommodation and transport sectors. It also contributed R26.2 billion to the annual GDP of South Africa in 2008 which amounts to 2.2% of the overall national GDP.
Earlier this year the Department of Tourism launched its Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy to encourage South Africans to be tourists in their own country. At the same time South African Tourism unveiled its marketing campaign to boost awareness around the experiences that make the country a world-class tourist destination and which are available on every South African’s doorstep.
“Wine tourism adds not only to South Africa’s economy but also to the country’s desirability as a holiday destination. Like our wines that are exported and enjoyed worldwide, the South African wine tourism industry is constantly evolving as it takes up the challenge of competing in a global market. A winery visit is no longer just about the tasting and enjoying of wines, rather the experience has been expanded to include an array of offerings that appeal to a broader range of tourists such as restaurants, festivals, outdoor activities and other unique attractions,” says Wine Tourism South Africa founder, Monika Elias.
In line with these, Elias has recently launched the #KLINK Awards, the country’s first ever consumer-driven, interactive wine tourism awards. The objective of the Awards is to inspire South Africans to not only explore and enjoy the experiences offered by the country’s winelands but also provide feedback on these – thereby shining a light on the state of the industry.
The Awards are currently being run on Wine Tourism South Africa’s website, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Pintrest, with the aim of involving enthusiastic domestic tourists and wine lovers in the recognition of wine tourism. “What better way to engage with them and build awareness of all that the South African winelands has to offer than through the interactive participation offered by social media platforms. Furthermore, by harnessing the power of social media we are able to reach a broad base of consumers across regional boundaries,” shares Elias.
She continues, “The #KLINK Awards is not aimed at wine connoisseurs, but rather those that enjoy wine and who are equally as interested in the story behind the wine, its scenic surroundings, the food it best accompanies and the people who make it. In the current economic climate, marketing to a broader, more inclusive market is essential to the longevity and profitability of any business.”
A panel of industry-related professionals have nominated the top five finalists in each of the #KLINK Awards’ fourteen categories. These range from ‘Most Unusual Attraction on a Wine Route’ and ‘Most Green Wine Farm’ to ‘Best Deli on a Wine Farm’. It is now up to consumers to visit the nominees, go online and vote for their favourites.
“In the first four weeks since the awards have launched we have been inundated with thousands of votes from people around the country – all due to the viral nature and influential word-of-mouth power of social media. In addition, the Awards have given industry role players and consumers a vibrant platform through which to engage,” reveals Elias.
“To quote the Department of Tourism ‘While foreign tourist arrivals to South Africa are growing and reached over 8.3 million in 2011, domestic tourism remains the lifeblood of the South African tourism industry’. With 43% of tourists to the country visiting the Cape Winelands, the promotion of wine tourism amongst domestic travellers is of key concern for the development of the industry, local tourism and the economy,” she concludes.
For more information visit Wine Tourism South Africa: http://winetourismsouthafrica.co.za/