Enotourism: The Growth of Wine Tourism in Spain

Enotourism, Oenotourism, Wine Tourism or Vinitourism. Whatever you call it, these terms refer to the not-so-new trend of taking a wine holiday. What is a wine holiday? A getaway whose purpose is or includes tasting, consuming, or the purchase of wine, often at or near the vineyard or at the winery itself.

Where there are all types of tourism from adventure sport to cruise ships, some may be more passive, but wine tourism, or enotourism, for the purposes of this article, consist of visits to wineries, tasting wines, vineyard walks, picnics among the vines or actively participating in the grape harvest.

Enotourism’s history varies by region. For example, Napa Valley, USA saw an increase in growth when a concerted marketing effort was made in 1975. The Judgement of Paris, a wine competition and tasting organized in Paris on 24 May 1976 by Steven Spurrier, a British wine merchant, further enhanced this initiative. It was here that the town of Calistoga, California, and their Chateau Montelena, 1973 Chardonnay, beat out the finest French wines.

Other wine regions, or areas know for wine production, like Catalonia, Spain have only recently started marketing enotourism starting in the mid-2000’s. The primary focus behind this program was to provide the wealth of tourists flocking to Spain with an alternative to the beach holiday that Spain is so often associated with.

The first part of the 21st century saw a significant growth spur around enotourism. In the United States alone, 27 million travelers or 17% of American leisure travelers participated in some form of food and wine related activities. In Italy, a prominent country known for its unparalleled old world wines attracted approximately 5 million travelers, generating 2.5 billion euros in revenue as reported by Italy Magazine in 2012.

A study carried out by Wine Tourism Spain in the United States, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands, indicates over 14 million define themselves strictly as wine tourists and an even greater number, 82 million, try to organize a wine activity during their holidays.

Luiz Lechuga Nunez, founder of Winetourismspain.com website welcomes around 250,000 foreign tourists per year who specifically travel for wine excursions; this number equates to only about 0.4% of total tourist visiting Spain annually and only 17% of visitors that book a Spanish wine holiday. An increase, 7% of tourists polled that visit Spain, would admit they would like to book a winery tour while they are on holiday. This figures signifies about 3.6 million tourists that want to not only spend their time immersed in learning about wine in Spain and the culture that surrounds the industry, but will also spend their money on products, wine, cheese, chocolate and jambon to take home.

The great news for Spain is that enotourism does not take a significant financial investment, with both urban and rural tourism highly developed, the infrastructure to support growth is already in place. The World Tourism Association (WTO) reported Spain to be the second most trafficked tourist destination in all of Europe in 2015 and ranked 3rd worldwide behind France and the United States. According to Lechuga, "What we need to do is look out how we creatively package up and distribute wine tours to the millions of wine aficionados around the world. The internet will definitely play a significant part in the promotion and booking of the wine holidays and tours in Spain".

How does this apply to the Master in Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management program?

Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world with a significant global economic contribution from accommodation, transportation, entertainment, and attractions. Hospitality and tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in many emerging and developing business markets. Globalization and new technologies have created new opportunities for consumers, but has also stimulated an insurgence of global competition among providers and tourist destinations. The Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management at GBSB Global Business School offers forward-looking insights into the tourist industry and provides students with the opportunity to develop their knowledge and interests in one of the hottest international destinations around the world. There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained in Spain, in the sector of tourism and hospitality.

Written by Emily Dawn Szajda

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