Growing loyalty and revenue for Cape tourism

Online since 5.09.2017 • Filed under Tourism • From Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018 page(s) 90
Growing loyalty and revenue for Cape tourism

Being held at Spier in Stellenbosch on September 20, The Business of Food and Wine Tourism Conference focuses on best practice and how to improve customer experience. An important feature of the forum is the various ways in which wine and food impact customer loyalty.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that last year the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy was worth R127.9 billion, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP. Commenting on the WTTC findings presented in its recent 2017 Economic Impact Report, Margi Biggs, convenor of the upcoming The Business of Food and Wine Tourism Conference, says: ‘The good news is that the council has projected the sector’s contribution to domestic GDP will rise by 2.7% in 2017, a very welcome increase given the subdued state of our local economy’.

A seasoned travel and tourism specialist, Biggs contends that travel and tourism can contribute still further to national GDP, ‘provided the industry takes note of new trends in consumer spending, behaviour and priorities to make our food and tourism offerings more compelling and more competitive while upping the standard of our execution and service delivery’. She adds: ‘If we get it right, the impact will be substantial. It will help to build skills, create economic opportunities and reduce unemployment, generating greater prosperity for more South Africans. We have all the right ingredients: beautiful locations, a growing reputation for world-class food and wines, and friendly and welcoming hospitality staff.  We just have to finesse what we are doing with the technology and research we now have at our disposal while applying new thinking to marketing and problem-solving.’

She says the annual conference, now in its second year, is presented by a selection of international and local tourism specialists and focuses on best practice and how to improve the customer experience. ‘There is a growing view internationally that customer experience will drive more loyalty than complicated point-based programmes and schemes. We need to take note.’ Among this year’s keynote speakers is CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona. His address explores how the food and wine experience can promote South Africa’s competitive advantage as a tourist destination. Included in the line-up of international speakers are Don Shindle, an expert in customer service and GM of the Westin Verasa Napa in California’s renowned wine tourism epicentre; and world-renowned TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female master sommeliers in the world.

Dr Robin Back, a South African-born, US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US, is looking specifically at the impact on loyalty of cellar door visits. The programme will also cover topics that include virtual reality, attracting new markets, and PR trouble shooting. For more information, visit www.wineandfood.co.za .

Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018

Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018

This article was featured on page 90 of SABI Magazine Issue 6 - September 2017 - February 2018 .

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