November 2, 2020 – This year, Knowledge & Business was the 5-day theme of the International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) for more than 300 registered delegates from 25 different countries who came from different grape refugee destinations such as Austria, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Portugal, Spàin, Slovenia, Serbia, Great Britain, USA, to name but a few, and from the host region, Friuli Venezia Giulia and many other regions of Italy.
The two-day B2B wine tourism workshop between agents and providers of media and wine tourism experiences had planned more than 700 appointments and turned out to be the business highlight of the five-day event, with many more meetings held via online meeting platforms according to the meeting schedule.
IWINETC was to take place in person from October 27-29, 2020 and with the support of the premium sponsors Promoturismo FVG in the beautiful and spectacular grape escape destination Friuli Venezia Giulia
The three day conference program consisted of a number of world class speakers who provided excellent and relevant presentations to attendees during these troubled times. Anthony Swift’s Event Director offers some of the key points of the conference talk program:
“On the first day, Lucio Gomiero opened IWINETC and gave the delegates a foretaste of the wine and culinary delights of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. Chris Torres kept our spirits up by suggesting that the way forward for at least the next 12 to 18 months is to focus on domestic markets – coining a new word for the Oxford English Dictionary. Jonathan Gomez Punzon of the United Nations World Tourism Organization gave a bitter taste of the new reality, the new normal, but then it was pointed out that wine tourism and rural tourism are one of the safest types of tourism and will thrive in these challenging times, but us have adjustment by providing safer experiences, through partnership within a given destination, through delivery of excellence – a reason to travel, he explained.
On the second day, Harold Goodwin, WTM’s consultant for responsible tourism, presented “The Business Advantage of Responsible Tourism”. Responsible tourism is important in order to have authentic experiences and to ensure that wine tourists do not have negative experiences. Caring for customers tailored to their needs – show respect and care. You are only strong as the weakest link in your chain, he said. The bubbly Judith Lewis gives us food for thought when it comes to website optimization after Covid and digital marketing in the wine tourism industry. Cristina Mascanzoni Kaiser, who lives in a winery on Lake Garda, defined today’s luxury traveler as someone looking for tailored experiences according to the culture, a wine lover looking for a unique offer and a wine tourism provider who is trained and responsible. She coined the phrase Be hospitalistic! Francesco Bacarini filled up day 2 and showed the participants the online booking platform Vitinera, on which a DIY wine tourist can book a winery visit in Friuli Venezia Giulia and in other wine regions of Italy. A useful tool that is still in the fermentation phase.
On the third day, Marianna Sigala gave a seminar on wine tourism innovation during COVID-19. This was followed by a seminar on “How to improve the customer experience for wine through technology” with spokeswoman Roberta Garibaldi. Peter Syme emphasized the importance of understanding the customer journey and some pros and cons when it comes to using online travel agents. Philippe Harant, director of the Champagne Tourist Board, presented the Winetourism Lab project that aims to help (coaching, financial advice …). ) Wine tourism business initiatives in the region. A presentation of the Lower Austrian wine region followed.
In the final plenary session, Swift concluded the IWINETC 2020 conference program by saying, “Despite the challenging times we are in, the wine tourism industry is clearly on the rise and people are looking online for wine tourism, accommodation and complementary activities for a wine region like Wine country bike tours, trekking and tasting, yoga, a place for kids to run around doing treasure hunts and so on. Chris Torres showed us this in his talk on the first day. “
Swift continued, “You are in the right business right now. We must now invest in our marketing efforts, heed all the advice of our experts, sit down with a glass of your favorite wine and watch the replays of the conference, take notes, reflect, act. You will win. You will prosper. You will enjoy the new vintages when others don’t, or maybe not, with their heads in the sand. The future is bright for anyone who understands that wine tourism is a sustainable business opportunity. “
Lara Persello, responsible for the area Enogastronomia – Strada del Vino and de Sapori del Friuli Venezia Giulia and on behalf of Promoturismo FVG, said a few closing words and invited all conference participants to discover Friuli Venezia Giulia as soon as travel restrictions are eased or removed.
Swift concluded, “IWINETC will be back in 2021 and an announcement will be made in the New Year.”
The International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) is the world’s leading conference, exhibition and B2B workshop for wine and culinary tourists. The IWINETC is organized by wine tourists for wine tourists and includes a conference program with around 25 lectures, an exhibition area for suppliers showing grape escape destinations from around the world, a B2B workshop for agents to meet and make contacts with providers of wine tourism experiences link events to determine the host target for the duration of the event. IWINETC attracts professionals who work in travel agencies, wineries, hospitality, tourism boards, regional governments, federations, universities, wine import and activity organizers.
For the first time, IWINETC was held virtually from October 26th to 30th, 2020 (three-day conference and two-day B2B workshop).