Wine And Food Conference Grows Tourism

Wine And Food Conference Grows Tourism

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy in 2016 was worth R127.9bn, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP. 


Seasoned travel and tourism specialist, and convenor of the upcoming The Business of Food and Wine Tourism set to take place in spring, Margi Biggs contends that travel and tourism can contribute still further to national GDP. Commenting on the WTTC findings presented in its recent 2017 Economic Impact Report, Biggs, said: “The good news is that the council has projected the sector’s contribution to domestic GDP will rise by 2.7% in 2017, a very welcome increase given the subdued state of our local economy.” The report reflects the economic impact of the global travel and tourism industry, with 25 regions and 185 countries included in the survey.

Margie Biggs

According to Biggs, the industry should take note of new trends in consumer spending, behaviour and priorities to make the food and tourism offerings more compelling and more competitive, while upping the standard of execution and service delivery.

“If we get it right, the impact will be substantial,” she continues. “It will help to build skills, create economic opportunities and reduce unemployment, generating greater prosperity for more South Africans. We have all the right ingredients: beautiful locations, a growing reputation for world-class food and wines, and friendly and welcoming hospitality staff. We just have to finesse what we are doing with the technology and research we now have at our disposal, while applying new thinking to marketing and problem solving.”

The Business of Food and Wine Tourism

The annual conference, now in its second year, will be presented by a selection of international and local tourism specialists and would focus on best practice and how to improve the customer experience. An important feature of the forum would be the various ways in which wine and food impact customer loyalty. “There is a growing view internationally that customer experience will ultimately drive more loyalty than complicated point-based programmes and schemes. We need to take note,” Biggs says.

The programme

The programme will cover such topics as virtual reality, attracting new markets, and PR trouble shooting, as well as presentations by:

  • Keynote speaker: The CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona, will address how the food and wine experience can promote South Africa’s competitive advantage as a tourist destination.
  • International speakers: Don Shindle, an expert in customer service and GM of the Westin Verasa Napa in California’s renowned wine tourism epicentre; and world-renowned TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female master sommeliers in the world.
  • National speakers: Dr Robin Back, a South African-born, US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US will be looking specifically at the impact on loyalty of cellar door visits.

Venue: Spier Wine Farm on Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Registration: Early Bird registration is now open at a fee of R2 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate (until 12 June 2017). This standard cost per delegate is R3 950 (excl. VAT) until 18 August 2017. If you register and pay after 18 August 2017, the cost rises to R4 500 (excl. VAT) per person. For more information on the conference or to register online, visit

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Source and image: August Collective