Earlier this year South Africa’s wine tourism industry has been rated the best-developed in the world by International Wine Review, one of the world’s most influential opinion formers on wine.
While there seems to be consensus about the importance of wine tourism, managing and positioning this important source of income for the Western Cape is still not the responsibility of a generic wine tourism body, and rather that of dedicated individual wine farms and wine routes.
In Franschhoek, the wine route, Vignerons de Franschhoek is working together with the local tourism office resulting in a combined marketing effort of the Valley. Awarded as the best Local Tourism Information Office for 2012 in the Mayoral Tourism Awards Cape Winelands District Municipality, it seems that this combined effort is a winning recipe – reaching both the local and international audience.
Franschhoek has the charm of its French heritage and the beauty of the natural landscape, but it takes a focused strategy to keep the valley and village on top of the itinerary for visitors to the Cape. With almost 50 000 visitors through the Information Centre for this year up till end of September, the Tourism Office certainly has the opportunity of marketing the valley and its offerings. And with about 50 restaurants, 50 wineries, more than 90 accommodation establishments and a very special programme of events and festivals, visitors do return. One such special focus for 2012 is Plaisirs de France, part of the Seasons of France, a government initiative focusing on a cultural exchange programme between SA and France and the Franschhoek Valley has compiled a programme of note – utilising all its assets.
We all know that wine tourism is about wine and to a great extend about what happens around the wine – the added offering and activities. Franschhoek has some great assets to work with when it comes to wine and added offerings. Not only is it regarded as the Culinary Capital of South Africa, but Franschhoek wineries were listed 8 times under the top three of the various categories of the South Africa Best of Wine Tourism competition for 2012 held by the Great Wine Capitals of the World, where La Motte took honours as the Overall Winner for South Africa.
But even with a host of offerings, eventually it is about working together to market your message to the world.