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Posted: Monday, 28 September 2020 09:57

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OIV: Innovating in wine tourism in the context of COVID-19

Sep 28: OIV organized a Webinar along with the UNWTO on September 22 with an all-women panel from South Africa, Argentina, Chile, France, Italy and Spain sharing their country experiences on dealing with Covid-19 and highlighting the importance of local markets, new partnerships, more open-air experiences and digital transformation, reports Subhash Arora who attended, and rued that the Indian government had banned this activity that needs increased attention to attract people to augment wine sales during and Post-Covid-19

Welcoming the attendees, Pau Roca, Director General of the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV) said that OIV was in a central position to respond and provide solutions to develop the economy of vineyards and farmers and promote the wine trade. He said the wine tourism was based on three key points: diversity, rural areas and strong cultural links.

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), said that gastronomy and wine tourism were essential pillars of tourism development in rural areas. He  stressed it was fundamental for all the UNWTO member countries to support rural tourism, where wine  played a very important role, before passing the baton to Cape Town based Mariëtte de Toit-Helmbold to moderate the Seminar, held in cooperation with   the International Wine   Tourism Think   Tank.  

She pointed out that tourism has always been resilient and the wine industry is working hard to rebuild itself stronger and more sustainable than before. It has been brought to its knees by Lockdown and ban on wine sales in South Africa. It is imperative that we restart tourism in a responsive manner and build with a focus on local and   sustainable travel.  The priority must be health and   safety first to reassure people, then collaboration between sectors and regions with a focus on the local market and local people who are the greatest assets for wine tourism. A creative approach with   digital solutions, keeping in mind that technology is an enabler that needs a human story to have a real impact, is required.

Roberta Garibaldi from Associazione Italiana Turismo Enogastronomico, provided an overview of the situation in Italy and Spain as well as information on France, Portugal, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and South Africa. She stressed diversifying the experiences with a bigger focus on local culture, two encouraging tools to rebuild the wine tourism industry in a more sustainable and inclusive manner.

Argentinean example

Lorena   Cepparo from Chandon, Argentina talked about the reinvention of Enogastronomy in the wineries during and post COVID-19 with creativity and solidarity being important factors. Chandon has set up online events with physical experiences and a take-away catering service promoting an enogastronomic concept, thus keeping in touch with its customers and recreate bonding.

Speaking  on   behalf  of    Great  Wine    Capitals  Global    Network which was invited as an Observer by OIV in January this year, Catherine Leparmentier Dayot  reflected on  wine  tourism from a French perspective and showed   how    its  strength   relied  on    organizing  and    managing   outdoor experiences. Summer season 2020 in France saw a radical change in the origin of tourists with 94% being domestic. She highlighted preference for small, local activities to large infrastructures, and outdoor rather than indoor. The trend that has occurred this year has greatly benefited wine tourism to the point that today wine tourism can be considered an art of living.

However, major difficulties remain, such as the drop in visitor numbers, especially when summer is over and tourists are back to routine. Winegrowers must realize that innovation is not just a survival mechanism and   must integrate it into their future plans, she concluded.

Chilean Example

Irene Gimeno, from Enoturismo Chile, a national programme created in 2016 to strengthen wine   tourism talked about the New Strategies of Wine Tourism Destination. It supports wineries and considers wine and tourism as an issue of economic and social development for rural communities. The Chilean wine tourism sector suffered a double whammy with civil protests last October  and now COVID-19. This shows the relevance of cooperation between the private and public sectors. Together they designed a common strategy structured in 3 stages- from containment to adaptation and then reactivation.

The Spanish perspective  

Presented by Zaida Semprun, from the World Shopping Tourism Network, and Beatriz Vergara from Gonzalez Byass- one of Spain's most famous Sherry bodegas, on the subject of “New Reality, New Wine Tourism”, Zaida defined the framework of the impact that wine tourism had in the Spanish economy before COVID-19 in relation to the “New Reality”. She explained how the sector is adapting through safety protocols and labels such as "Safe Travel" stamps and analyzed the opportunities and challenges that the crisis implies and a list of new measures that a winery has to face. 

Beatriz presented the specificity of wine tourism, which allows for more personalized experiences and can be a complementary offer on the chosen travel destinations. It is an asset in the pandemic crisis and in the current context, digitalization is essential to materialize the experiences that can be proposed, she said.

Digitalization is key to success

Getting to know the customers to offer a personalized experience, finding the right balance between technology and   human contact was fundamental for the panelists. Along with these changes, improving local tourism turned to be the key for recovery, with sustainability as a pillar.

Garibaldi stressed the importance of data collection from actual and potential visitors, including not only the traditional costumers but also from Social Media. “Being able to track these users is very important to plan creative and efficient services with specific offers to each target, but it is equally important to give a human touch to technology, with a good storytelling,” she said.

For Gimeno the new virtual way of communicating thanks to the crisis, turned out to be really effective. Events such as webinars, allowed the increase in the number participants from different regions. It has come to stay and will become a complementary tool to the physical presence of customers.

Tourism, a Tool for Rural Development

Sandra Carvao, Chief of Tourism Market Intelligence and Competitiveness at the UNWTO, closed the webinar, reminding the audience that the topic for the World Tourism Day on 27 September (yesterday) was “Tourism and    Rural Development”. She stressed the importance of sustainability. For instance, the increase of disposable materials used currently due to sanitary protocols, and the need to think how to minimize the environmental impact of these measures.
For a couple of earlier related Article, visit:

OIV: GWC joins International Organisation of Vine and Wine as Observer
Sula: Wine Tourism Limping back in Nashik from July 10
IWINETC 2016: Indian Wine Tourism Young but Exciting

Subhash Arora

 

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