Wesgro, in partnership with Explore Sideways, has released the results of its second annual Wine & Food Tourism Study in the Western Cape.
The study surveyed more than 40 South African tour operators, accounting for over 19,000 itineraries booked over the year, and aims to determine sector trends and identify changing market conditions in the wine tourism industry in South Africa.
The survey found that wine tourism in the Western Cape has grown by 16% between 2016 and 2017, with tour operators indicating that 99% of Cape Town-based itineraries include a trip to the winelands.
It said that this popularity is likely due to increased awareness of South Africa as a wine tourism destination, driven by positive media coverage and internationally recognised wine awards.
Where people are going
While established wine destinations like Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Constantia remain the most popular with visitors, there was a 43% increase in requests for the Hermanus (Hemel-en-Aarde Valley) wine route between 2016 and 2017, thereby surpassing Paarl as the 4th most popular wine route, the survey found.
Other wine routes like the Swartland, Helderberg, and Robertson Valley also experienced significant increases.
The survey found that spending patterns of wine tourists indicate higher than average expenditure than general tourists while visiting the Western Cape.
As a result, respondents indicated that offering tailor-made tours was the most important aspect of selecting a wine tour, allowing tourists to immerse themselves in authentic experiences rather than scheduled or packaged tours.
This is further supported by the growing interest in unique activities like food and wine pairings (68%), cellar tours (54%), meeting the winemaker (51%) and food and wine tasting events (49%).
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