MONSARAZ, Portugal – Wine tourism is helping Greece, Italy, and Portugal recover from one of the most difficult periods ever for the tourism sector, Euronews reported.
"Many people are travelling to discover wine routes," Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), told Euronews, as the UN body held its fifth annual global wine tourism conference in Monsaraz, Portugal.
"We are creating new trends and one of them, which we started five years ago, is wine tourism development," Pololikashvili added, Euronews reported.
Rita Marques, the Portuguese Secretary of State for Tourism, noted the changes in travel trends following the months of quarantine. She told Euronews: "We seek open spaces these days, spaces that are like this, idyllic like we find here in Monsaraz in our Alentejo. Rural spaces. That trend of demand will continue. These new reasons for demand will continue and wine tourism marries very well with these territories."
Tourism dependent countries are already seeing the recovery including Greece, Portugal, and Italy “which is hosting the next conference,” Euronews reported.
Massimo Garavaglia, the Italian Minister of Tourism told Euronews: “This year there was a 17% increase in demand for gastronomy and wine tourism. It is a sector on which we focused a lot, but it still lacks a bit of organization. If we work well on the organization, both at the digital level and in terms of promotion and integration of touristic offers, we will be able to make the leap.”
The UNWTO outlined four aims for nations regarding the promotion of gastronomy, including enhancing the value chain of wine tourism, adding value and value ‘localhood’, innovating in partnerships, and bringing the discovery of wine to the territory, Euronews reported.
Sofia Zacharaki, Greece's Deputy Minister for Tourism, told Euronews that “wine tourism was contributing hugely to the industry's ability to stand firm.”
“Let's talk about numbers. I will give you the exact number of a winery, one of the most prestigious ones, in Santorini. In 2019, they received almost 1.2 million guests. This year they had almost 50% of the guests," Zacharaki told Euronews.
“In terms of policy, the UNWTO highlighted its intention of helping nations build a national wine tourism strategy,” Euronews reported, adding that “indeed the conference was organized in collaboration with the Great Wine Capitals network, an organization that brings together the world's main cities and wine-producing regions.”
“Developed in 1999, the member cities in the network are: Adelaide (South Australia ), Bilbao-Rioja (Spain), Bordeaux (France), Cape Town (South Africa), Lausanne (Switzerland), Mainz / Rheinhessen (Germany), Mendoza (Argentina), Porto (Portugal), San Francisco / Napa Valley (USA), Valparaìso / Casablanca Valley (Chile), and Verona (Italy),” Eurnoews reported, noting that “these cities cumulatively receive over 20 million visitors per year, and have an increasing number of wine tourism projects, from hands-on visitor experiences to tailored food-and-wine matching events.”