The FINANCIAL — To highlight the relevance of wine and gastronomy as key components of tourism development, the 22nd UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism was held in Mendoza, Argentina on 29-30 September.
The Conference was co-organized by UNWTO and the Ministry of Tourism of Argentina, in collaboration with the Region of Mendoza and the Chamber of Tourism of Argentina.
Mendoza, known worldwide as the heart of Argentine winemaking, accounts for 70% of the national production of wine and about 85% of the bottled wine sales. The identity of the city is strongly linked to wine production.
As stated at the 1st UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism, held in the Kakheti Region of Georgia, gastronomy and wine have become key components for experiencing the culture and lifestyle of any destination. They also constitute a growing motivation for travellers and therefore exhibit high potential as a tool for local development, according to UNWTO.
The Conference brought together over 640 participants from 23 countries from Ministries of Tourism, destination management organizations (DMOS), international and intergovernmental organizations as well as tour operators, wine experts and media. Throughout the three sessions, dynamic discussions complemented by experts’ presentations shed light on the challenges, latest developments and successful examples of initiatives existing in wine tourism.
As the conference took place in the framework of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, a special focus was dedicated to strengthening the relationship between sustainability and wine tourism, highlighting the valuable role of wine tourism in the sustainable development of tourism destinations.
“Through the involvement of UNWTO in this event, we can assert that the whole world convenes today in Mendoza to give support to tourism in Argentina and particularly in Mendoza, a province at the core of our sector. That is why we wanted to complement the conference by sharing the UNWTO prototype methodology, in which we have actively participated since last June through The Joyful Journey Mendoza,” said Minister of Tourism of Argentina Gustavo Santos
“Wine tourism helps enrich the tourism offer and attracts different publics. This conference tries to promote exchanges and to build cooperation among destinations that show potential in this field,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
The first day of the conference offered interventions and key notes from experts in tourism, as well as a panel on the UNWTO prototype methodology on wine tourism. ‘The Joyful Journey Mendoza’ includes a component of social corporate responsibility and attaches importance to the relevance of the SDGs. Among the participants were Mariángeles Samamé, Director of Touristic Products Development at the Ministry of Tourism of Argentina, Gabriela Testa, President of Mendoza Tourism and Yolanda Perdomo, Director of Affiliate Members at UNWTO.
The second day of the conference included also two panels. The first was dedicated to ‘regional integration and public/private partnerships and the exchange of responsible practices.’ Among the participants were Gustavo Santos, Minister of Tourism of Argentina, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General-elect of UNWTO, Stanislav Rusu, Director General of the Agency of Tourism of the Republic of Moldova, Catherine Leparmentier Dayot, Founder and Executive Director of the Global Network of Wine Capitals, and José Miguel Viu, President of the Regional Strategic Programme of Wine Tourism in Chile.
The second panel of this session addressed the relevance of ‘heritage, architecture, interpretation centres and best practices in wine tourism.’ Interventions included Eliana Bórmida, Co-founder of Bórmida & Yazon Architects, Santiago Vivanco, President at The Joyful Journey Spain, Tornike Zirakishvili, Head of Convention and Exhibition Bureau of Georgia and Óscar Bustos Navarta, Head of Quality Guidelines for Wineries at the Ministry of Tourism of Argentina.
The 3rd Conference on Wine Tourism will take place in Moldova in 2018 and the 4th in Chile in 2019.