Monika Elias, a wine specialist and publisher, says the success of the country’s wine tourism lies in its unique offerings.
The industry used to have a strong focus on food and wine and has now grown to include other aspects such as accommodation and activities such as horse riding and walks to make it more appealing. It has also become a popular venue for weddings and other celebrations.
“It all adds value to the wine brands and it’s a great visitor experience. We have one of the most beautiful winelands in the world and the most accessible,” Elias told CNBC Africa.
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The country boasts 21 wine routes running through the Western Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal and offers over 500 wine farms that offer wine tasting.
The South African wine industry has created 2.7 million indirect and direct jobs and contributes roughly 30 billion rand to the country’s GDP.
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“In the last ten years there’s been an accelerated growth in wine tourism because the wineries are in for the long haul. You’ve got to look at how they can sell more wine,” said Elias.
As the world’s eighth largest wine producer the country attracts on average 60 per cent local tourists and 40 per cent international tourists.
Elias is also part of the team that compiled the Wine Tourism Handbook of South Africa, a guide to the top wineries and wines in the country.