There is safety in structure. An established business model offers guidance, best practice and experienced leadership to guide business ventures. Less bound by the structure and rules of an institution, entrepreneurs and individual start-outs are allowed more creativity, but they are also more exposed to the harsh economic environment.
Profitable business is not restricted to institutions and structured companies. Entrepreneurs – from street vendors to online enterprises – have changed the landscape of doing business and both institution and small business have become essential to the economy.
Take Wine Tourism as an example. Without being biased, I think it is safe to say that the South African wine tourism offering is world-class. On the one hand, there are strong brands that have made big investments in the development of their tourism offering. Some establishments employ award-winning chefs, invite guests to lavish hotels and offer well-trained, smooth services to the industry. Smaller wine-making companies or even one-man-shows also contribute to the wine tourism experience. Having the option to have an one-on-one wine tasting with the winemaker or to enjoy a home-cooked meal in the intimacy of a farm kitchen appeals to a different crowd, adds versatility to the offering and supports the bigger industry through job creation, training, etc. – even if it is on a much smaller scale than at the bigger institutions or establishments.
I love that smaller operators can be part of the industry, that they can bring their creativity and unique offering to the Cape Winelands tourism table. To be successful as an industry, however, certain things have to be in place. Quality, regardless of the offering or service, is, for instance, non-negotiable. The guest should always feel that they get more than they bargained for, that they get value for money and they should always leave feeling positive. It is our aim to create ambassadors for our industry and make the most of word-of-mouth marketing.
In order for this to happen, the wine and tourism industry and established market leaders, have a responsibility towards those new to the market. It is to the benefit of the industry as a whole that guests have positive experiences and it is, therefore, essential to share best practice.
It is because I find this so essential, that I am delighted about the introduction of Vinpro’s Wine Tourism Industry Toolkit. As one of six drivers of South Africa’s economy, tourism is essential and as a category, wine tourism is said to contribute more than R16 billion to the country’s GDP annually. Wine Tourism supports agri-processing and job creation opportunities and through the introduction of our wines, also support the wine export industry.
Introducing the Toolkit earlier this week, Vinpro CEO, Rico Basson said that the real hard yards follow after implementation. To have your offering is one thing, but it has to be adaptable, robust, globally competitive and profitable. I think this new tool, based on thorough research, global best practice and local case studies give the South African wine tourism offering a wonderful advantage and I am excited to see what we can do for each other and learn from each other.
Sharing best practice is of exceptional value for Wine Tourism in South Africa, but it is also an excellent example to industry in general.