Yesterday, we were visited by an Italian film crew producing a documentary on tourism in South Africa for one of their local television stations. They have been to the Pilanesberg and Johannesburg and were ending their programme in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands. While Italy is known for their Agri-Tourism offering, they were quite impressed with what they found in the Winelands, mentioning how the wine tourism experience in South Africa is so much more developed than what they are used to.
Of course, to me, Wine Tourism is very important, but we should remember that only a few tourists travel with the exclusive aim of visiting wine destinations. Tourism is one of those sectors where all the various areas should work together – visitors rarely are only interested in one kind of experience. In the case of the Western Cape, some tourists do love wine and have worked out a comprehensive itinerary for visiting the Winelands, but most tourists would also like to visit Table Mountain, go to Robben Island, go shark cage diving, see the flowers of the Namaqualand, etc.
I would like to use the tourism categories identified in an interesting article by Richard George in the latest Tourism Tattler.
Agri-tourism: Taking visitors to the farm with activities such as fruit-picking, often using farm houses as accommodation. In Italy, visiting wine farms generally falls under this category.
Ancestry tourism: People travel to places to find out more about their ancestry.
Architourism: For those interested in architecture. For instance when going to Barcelona to see the La Sagrada Familia or Gaudi’s, Park Güell.
Battlefields tourism: Visits to former battlefields such as Normandy in France.
Eco-tourism: Also called wildlife-tourism and an important part of the tourism offering in South Africa. In the Western Cape, it includes Whale Watching, but in other parts of the country, visits to game parks are very popular.
Gambling tourism: Of course this is for those opting for casinos to gamble at.
Gastronomy tourism: Now to me, this makes more sense than going somewhere to gamble! Gastronomy tourism is for those interested in food and who go to places where they would like to experience the local cuisine and even attend cooking courses.
Lighthouse tourism: Yes, indeed. For those who like to visit lighthouses and also stay there if they have been turned into accommodation establishments.
Military tourism: Wider than Battlefield Tourism, tourists are also interested in war museums, memorials and forts.
Nostalgia tourism: This is more personal. People return somewhere for the reason of sentiment. A place where they have celebrated a special moment, were born, got married, etc.
Photographic tourism: While almost all tourists love taking pictures, this is for those who go to a destination with the specific goal to take exceptional photographs. Africa’s wildlife is very popular under photography enthusiasts.
Property tourism: This is more than a holiday. Property tourists visit a destination with the aim of research and ultimately buying property.
Rural or cultural tourism: For those interested in the real culture of an area, this entails living within a community (even with a local family in a private house) to experience the lifestyle first hand.
Safari tourism: When tourists go on safari – mainly to watch wildlife.
Spa tourism: This is for those who enjoy being pampered or visit destinations for health reasons. Tourists visit mineral or hot springs and can usually do this independent of the season.
Wedding tourism: A growing industry in the Western Cape. Not only is the Wedding tourism destination catering for honeymoon couples, but actually for big groups attending wedding ceremonies and receptions as well.
Wellness or spiritual tourism: If you are stressed out and a holiday has to be about rest rather than adventure, then wellness and spiritual tourism is the way to go. Tourists usually enjoy reflexology, massages, etc. Often goes hand-in-hand with Spa tourism.
Wine Tourism: When tourists visit wine farms and festivals to taste and purchase wines. In developed wine tourism destinations, experiences include cellar and vineyard tours, food and wine pairings, etc.
Most of these different types of tourism do not operate exclusively. Most people fall in more than one tourist categories and it is therefore important for local governments to embrace their complete tourism offering. Even if someone is a bird-watcher, he or she has to eat, has to stay somewhere and might need some alternative activities on a rainy day. It is also important for those involved in the tourism sector to work together. In the Western Cape where tourism is responsible for such an important contribution to the local economy, we definitely cannot ignore this.
Featured image: Chinese wine tourists