Stellenbosch is expanding its international wine tourism appeal
Stellenbosch presented its multi-faceted Wine Tourism offerings at the World Travel Market (WTM) 2014, a leading global event for the travel industry held in London, as part of the town’s efforts to encourage more foreign arrivals to the region and longer stays.
WTM offers a unique platform for a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to network and conduct business and Stellenbosch used this unrivalled business opportunity to showcase its dynamic Stellenbosch Experience wine tourism campaign – initiated by the town’s Stellenbosch 360 tourism outfit and the pioneering Stellenbosch Wine Routes – to top UK and international media and trade professionals.
This four-day show also marked the beginning of a proactive, targeted international PR campaign for the City of Oaks, which focuses on Stellenbosch as South Africa’s premier wine tourism region, an ideal hub from where to enjoy the region’s top food offerings, family-friendly nature, its latest luxury travel offerings and its upcoming attractions for 2015.
Key takeouts for Stellenbosch’s Wine Tourism team
‘Not only did we engage with numerous top travel and business editors, food journalists and UK tour operators to share with them our slice of wine tourism uniqueness, we also gained first hand insight into the latest travel and tourism trends to ensure that Stellenbosch is and stays up there with the world’s best destinations. It also reminded us to make the most of our own unique identity and to stay relevant, innovative and fluid,” shares Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, former CEO of Cape Town Tourism and owner of Destinate, an international tourism marketing agency and the driving force behind the Stellenbosch Experience campaign.
According to du Toit-Helmbold the feedback from the floor was extremely positive and the unique, high value experiences on offer by the campaign partners, which include the stellar likes of Spier, The House of JC Le Roux, Stellenbosch Vineyards, Dornier Wines, Kleine Zalze, Fleur du Cap, Tokara and Thrifty Car Rental, were met with great interest. “Stellenbosch is a desirable destination, not only as South Africa’s premier wine tourism region, but especially as an affordable, family-oriented destination and the value for money that it offers for UK travellers.
The media and trade also honed in on the wide variety of foodie experiences that we offer as well as the bio-dynamic wine farming initiatives and young chefs and winemakers stemming from Stellenbosch,” adds du Toit-Helmbold.
The global tourism trends
“Experiential tourism, which includes food and wine tourism, is now one of the biggest driving forces behind choosing travel destinations with destinations like Australia and New Zealand investing millions in promoting their wine tourism offerings.”
Some of the global travel trends that have emerged include the fact that multi-generational travel, peer-to-peer travel, bookings via mobile devices; cycling tourism, and low cost luxury are on the rise and that value for money is the most important factor when deciding on a holiday destination. The three most important things that tourists are expecting when travelling are: great local food and culinary customs, intimately connected interaction with friendly locals through memorable and authentic experiences, and free wifi.
The value of the internet
Travellers expect free and fast wifi so that they can share their experiences on their social media devices and the average young guest now has over 1000 Facebook friends. Travellers also rely on a few trusted sources to get information about their planned destination, which include websites, blogs or reviews and social media.
“The web and social media have levelled the playing field, making it possible for destinations like Stellenbosch to take advantage of new trends and use digital marketing to inspire travellers to visit and experience our endless variety,” shares du Toit-Helmbold. “This is at the heart of the Stellenbosch Experience campaign and we are excited about building upon the strong foundation laid in 2014.”
During the upcoming festive season the ‘forever young’ town of Stellenbosch will be donning all its bells and whistles to offer locals and holidaymakers alike a festooned line up of indulgences and experiences happening in and around its oak-lined streets and prized vineyards. Its jolly list of seasonal pleasures for young and old to revel in from now until January include Christmas shopping under the stars, numerous artisanal markets, laidback live music shows, open garden strolls and an array of dining experiences.
For more on what is on offer in and around this quaint town contact Stellenbosch 360 at Tel: 021 883 3584 or swing by at their information centre at 36 Market Street. Also visit www.wineroute.co.za or www.stellenbosch.travel and follow blog.wineroute.co.za for the latest festive happenings.