Reading our local tourism news update this morning, we were delighted to see that someone clever got to write our dear minister’s speech for once. Minister of Tourism, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, has welcomed the steps taken by a variety of role players in the wine industry to further develop wine tourism and place South Africa on the map as a wine tourism destination. At Road Travel we are doing our bit for the wine tourism industry, arranging some of the best wine tours for our clients.
Speaking at a stakeholder workshop at the Spier Estate outside Stellenbosch, the Minister said wine tourism was one of the fastest growing and most lucrative sectors of the global tourism market. “In South Africa, our wine industry plays an important role in terms of its contribution to regional and rural economic growth and job creation. In 2009 wine tourism contributed an estimated R4.3 billion to our country’s tourism revenue and we believe there is still great potential for growth in this regard.”
Van Schalkwyk added that increasing revenue from tourism could help the South African wine industry to offset international volatility caused by currency and demand fluctuations. He said wine and gourmet tourism could play a role in terms in increasing the geographic spread of tourism in South Africa “Wine tourism is a vital product offering in South Africa’s tourism product as it helps improve the country’s competitiveness against destinations like Brazil, Australia, Kenya and Thailand.
The Minister said the development of wine tourism also complemented the goals of the recently launched National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), which aims to position South Africa as one of the top 20 global tourism destinations by 2020. “Some of the key focus areas of the NTSS include the increase of tourist arrivals to South Africa, further developing the domestic tourism sector, the promotion of events tourism, niche product development and rural tourism promotion. I believe wine tourism can contribute to each of these goals in a significant way and we look forward to continued constructive engagement with the industry in this regard,” concluded the Minister.