A Cape Winelands Mission with Turismo de Portugal
During the last week of February, we hosted a first-of-its-kind wine tourism mission with Turismo de Portugal and it’s safe to say that it was a truly memorable experience for everyone involved.
“What started out as an idea during my first trip to Portugal a few years ago culminated in a historic gathering in the Cape Winelands to cement a special friendship and partnership between my two of my favourite countries, Portugal and South Africa,” says Mariette du Toit-Helmbold of Destinate.
There are many similarities between South Africa and Portugal; and the countries face similar challenges in terms of tourism with improving seasonality and distribution of visitors being key priorities. Wine tourism can transform places and in a country like South Africa where economic development is so desperately needed, we have seen it empower small businesses within the value chain of wine tourism.
The idea was to provide our guests – a delegation of Portuguese wine and tourism industry leaders lead by the Secretary of State for Tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho, with an introductory overview of South African wine tourism and a taste of some of the award-winning tourism initiatives in the Cape Winelands. Most importantly, we wanted to introduce delegates to a few of the pioneers of wine tourism, giving them an opportunity to share their stories in person and explore potential partnerships.
Whirlwind adventure around the winelands
With only four days at our disposal, the journey took the form of a wonderful whirlwind, filled with an array of memorable experiences.
The welcome dinner was joined by, among others - South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe; the Ambassador of Portugal, Manuel Carvalho; Western Cape MEC for Tourism and Agriculture, Beverley Schäfer and CEO of South African Tourism, Sisa Ntshona.
Day two saw us heading to Waterford Estate for a working cellar tour followed by a vineyard wine safari. The delegates were hosted by owner Kevin Arnold, who provided a fascinating first-hand overview of wine tourism in Stellenbosch. After this it was time to enjoy a taste of South African wine festival culture by spending the afternoon at Constantia Fresh at Buitenverwachting Wine Estate.
To end off a jam-packed day of experiences, we set out to Middelvlei for a boerebraai with the Momberg family, which turned into a delightful evening of storytelling, dancing to live African music and the forging of new friendships.
Other experiences the delegation got to enjoy during their stay was dinner at Delaire Graff’s Indochine restaurant; a cellar tour, wine tasting and tea at La Motte; and a tour around Spice Route with owner Charles Back to showcase how a number of small businesses are supported through the wine tourism value chain.
Wine Tourism Engagement
Adding a more formal edge to this educational journey, was a wine tourism meeting hosted by Boschendal. The meeting brought leaders in wine tourism and representatives from national, regional and local government together to share insights on wine tourism and explore bilateral trade and tourism opportunities between South Africa and Portugal. It was an intensive and fruitful morning of sharing ideas and brainstorming, followed by an insightful sustainability farm tour and lunch with award winning chef Christiaan Campbell.
Partnerships make things possible
None of this would have been possible without the relationships and partnerships we have with the inspiring captains of industry and the communities of people who work with us to make ideas possible.
Ultimately, the goal with the mission is forge partnerships that will help to increase the number of visitors to South Africa and Portugal respectively, using wine tourism as one of the platforms to achieve this. It was evident that with some intervention the trade potential between the two countries can be increased and that the historic link between the two nations should be used more strategically from a tourism and investment perspective.
There are many similarities between our two nations and we look forward to the journey ahead, not as competitors, but as partners.
The next step will be a wine and tourism mission to Portugal during their harvest season in September/October this year. Planning will commence soon and we look forward to sharing more in the coming weeks.
For the full photo album, click HERE
Watch the video here.