The Stellenbosch American Express ® Wine Routes, South Africa’s first and foremost wine route and gourmet capital of the country, made its debut at the 2014 ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) in Berlin earlier this month.
ITB is the world’s largest tourism convention and was the perfect platform for the global launch of the region’s wine tourism marketing campaign, Stellenbosch Experience.
The aim of this dynamic campaign is to reaffirm Stellenbosch as the wine tourism capital of South Africa and the ideal hub from where to explore Cape Town and the Western Cape, and from 5 till 9 March, representatives from the granddaddy of South African Wine Routes met with top trade and media to showcase the area’s diverse and unparalleled wine tourism offerings.
“Research has shown that more and more visitors opt for experiential, multi-dimensional destinations and experiences rather than merely being passive spectators when on leisure or business trips. In addition, travellers who engage in culinary and wine tourism attractions during their travels, tend to stay longer and spend more in the destinations they visit,” shares Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.
The Stellenbosch team engaged face to face with close to 400 members of the travel trade and media during the three-day event in Berlin. A highlight of the global launch activities at ITB was collaborating with TripAdvisor for their ITB networking event held at the popular Soho House in East Berlin. The event was by invitation only and attended by 300 of the top international trade and industry representatives.
“TripAdvisor is delighted to have collaborated with Stellenbosch Wine Routes at our ITB networking event. Wine tourism is certainly growing in popularity and travellers look for memorable tourism experiences, which Stellenbosch delivers. With the recent launch of the new TripAdvisor domain for South Africa, we are pleased to have been able to highlight one of South Africa's tourism destinations that is rich in both quality and authenticity,” said Helena Egan, TripAdvisor Head of Destination Marketing Sales Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Leading up to ITB, international trade and media were invited to select their ‘ultimate bucket list’ from an enticing itinerary of experiences in and around Stellenbosch, ranging from harvesting with a winemaker and dining with a local celebrity chef, to game viewing in the Winelands and learning how to drive a tractor.
During TripAdvisor’s ITB networking event, guests were automatically entered into the campaign’s “Ultimate Stellenbosch Bucket-list Competition,”which closes on 31 March when one lucky trade representative and partner will win their ultimate bucket-list holiday to Stellenbosch and the Western Cape.
In association with three of its campaign partners, Simonsig, Van Ryn and Kleine Zalze, Stellenbosch Wine Routes gave away bottles of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel and Kleine Zalze wines and one guest walked away with a big hamper of Stellenbosch wines. Samples of Van Ryn’s 20 year old brandy were included in the event goodie bags along with information on Stellenbosch.
“We are approaching marketing platforms like trade shows in a different way. We identify marketing partners and standout opportunities for joint marketing that fit our brand offering and guarantee high impact and measurable results for our region and marketing partners. TripAdvisor, which is the world’s largest travel site, is the perfect marketing partner as it has a huge influence in people’s travel decisions,” added Bolton.
Campaign partners Delheim, Spier and Waterkloof were singled out as exemplary responsible tourism case studies in Mariette du Toit-Helmbold’s presentation at the ITB Convention on the “Status of Responsible Tourism in South Africa.” Du Toit-Helmbold is the owner of Destinate, an international tourism marketing agency, working with Stellenbosch Wine Routes and Stellenbosch 360.
The latest global tourism travel results and trends, which were released at ITB confirm a rosier outlook for tourism in 2014. International tourism reached a new record high in 2013 with a 4-5% growth forecast for 2014, despite the uncertain world economy. Outbound travel grew by 4% in terms of trips and spend was up by 6%. Emerging markets such as China and Russia were again the top success stories with high growth rates for outbound travel, whilst Asia and Europe performed well. The good news for South Africa is that Europe, still the country’s biggest source market, is expected to show solid growth in 2014 on the back of a two-year period of economic depression.
“This is good news for tourism growth in Stellenbosch, but it means we have to respond with innovative, enticing travel offers to a world that is spoilt for choice, easily influenced and still under economic pressure. We believe the Stellenbosch Experience campaign is well timed to attract more visitors to our region,” said Bolton.
Other Stellenbosch Experience campaign elements planned for the rest of the year, include an innovative wine tourism blogger campaign with top international and national travel, lifestyle and food bloggers that kicks off at the end of April, just before the campaign is showcased at Indaba from 10-12 May 2014.