Stepping into its fourth year, the Wine and Food Tourism Conference this year will be held on 18th September 2019 at Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch. The theme for the 2019 conference is intended towards current trends in tourism covering all of its aspects from technology to product development. The gala event through its three-year journey has become a must-visit for people in the travel industry both from South Africa and abroad.
This year the event is organized with equal zest and passion like the previous year’s but with a superfluous lure. For the first time in its history, South African minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane will grace the occasion with her presence in the conference. She will also present the inaugural Wine and Food Tourism awards to the deserving nominees.
Margi Bis, the conference convenor uttered that presence of the honourable minister at the event marks the importance of fast-growing wine and food tourism sector. “There can be no more compelling way for travellers to access the heart and soul of a region, its natural features, its culture, and its aspirations, than through its wine and food. The impact, however, is so much more far-reaching. It brings jobs, builds skills, and enhances the opportunities and quality of life of otherwise marginalized rural communities.”
The awards are divided into three categories, viz. ‘Innovation’, ‘Service Excellence’ and ‘The Authentic South African Experience’. Individuals and teams who have been nominated for the last three years will receive membership of ‘Wine and Food Tourism Honourees Club’ and hence won’t be able to nominate themselves again in the fourth year. The nominations will be judged by a team of industry experts followed by announcing the winner’s name in the conference.
The event greets headline speaker Dion Chang who is South Africa’s one of the most respected trend analyst. The innovative professional cage rattler is known for his experience of more than two decades in media and magazine industry. His lectures on business and management strategies are the main follow-ups in many of the business schools including UCT’s Graduate School of Business. Accompanying him, the event will embrace other eminent speakers like media consultant Judith Lewis, thought leadership speaker Katlego Ditlhokwe and CEO of Wesgro, Tim Harris. Apart from them, the conference will cherish the soulful presence of remarkable international figures who have set new trends and dimensions in various fields of tourism, industry, marketing, and technology.
United Nations World Travel Organisation (UNWTO) in an earlier prediction has revealed that international growth in all types of travel will face a hike of 3 to 4% in 2019 compared to 2018. Commenting on these statistics, Bis said, ‘A big reason is the greater accessibility of air travel. Also, some of the growth can be attributed to the greater number of domestic and international travellers who are seeking out novelty in flavor and experience and finding both in abundance, especially in emerging countries. South Africa’s renown for value and variety obviously makes it a very appealing destination and explains why it remains the largest tourism economy in Africa.
She further comprehended, ‘Local wine tourism providers are proving innovative and responsive in how they cater to traditional and mainstream wine and food lovers, as well as to those with an interest in ethical, sustainable, cultural, health, and sports-oriented experiences. From the artisanal to augmented reality, South Africans are wonderfully adept at fashioning and curating world-class experiences and events that acknowledge long-standing traditions alongside the very latest in technology. No wonder then that we have had such an encouraging response to the awards with so many original and exciting nominations’.
Besides, the conference proceedings will have panel discussions on topics like ‘What will drive our wine & food tourism to the next level’ and ‘Future challenges and opportunities in food and wine tourism’. The day-long event will come to its closure with Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane giving away the awards followed by a tasting of old vine wine and canapés presented by the Old Vine Project.