Monika Iuel, Wesgro's chief destination marketing officer, is encouraged by new growth in the return of international and domestic visitors to the Cape. Commenting on behalf of the Best Of Wine Tourism & Ambassador Awards, of which Wesgro is the custodian, she says: "The recent rise in tourism arrivals certainly bodes well for South Africa's wine tourism sector."
In addition, recent data on arrivals recorded in April 2022, released by Statistics South Africa, confirms a strong recovery for leading Western Cape source markets. Most notably, visitors from the United Kingdom arriving at Cape Town International Airport recovered to an almost perfect 98% of pre-pandemic levels.
Furthermore, anecdotal reports from wine tourism providers indicate an increase in overseas bookings for summer 2022/3. "This is welcome news after the many setbacks endured by the wine tourism industry over the past two years and more."
Iuel notes, however, that while lockdown and the alcohol bans are over, South Africans still face the impact of cost-of-living increases that might make potential domestic tourists review any travel plans.
"In order to remain relevant, with enticing offers too often hard-pressed travellers, it is essential for industry players to monitor closely their competitive environment. One simple, effective step involves benchmarking. Evaluating yourself against the best of the best provides useful context in testing claims of uniqueness or distinctiveness."
She is urging wine tourism providers to enter the upcoming Best Of Wine Tourism & Ambassador Awards in any of the ten categories (seven in the Best Of Wine Tourism Awards and three in the Ambassador programme). There are no limits to the number of categories in which competitors can enter. The cost per entry is R575, including VAT.
All entries can be submitted online at https://www.bestofwinetourism.co.za/categories/ no later than by close of business, Friday, 5 August.
The seven categories in Best Of Wine Tourism Awards, the local chapter of the international Great Wine Capitals Awards of Excellence, are accommodation, restaurants, architecture and landscape, art and culture, wine tourism services, innovative wine tourism experience and sustainable wine tourism practice. The five top entries in each category will be evaluated by judges from the local chapter with input from the international body.
The Ambassador Awards encompass Authentic South African Experience, Wine Tourism Diversity and WWF Conservation Pioneer. The latter, as its name suggests, is sponsored by WWF South Africa.
Winners will be celebrated at an event in October.
For more information, visit www.bestofwinetourism.co.za.