SUMMARYTITLE OF FINAL ASSIGNMENT: WINE TOURISM IN GOZO – TAL-MASSAR WINERY A CASE IN POINTPRESENTATION FORMAT: POWER POINTTEAM MEMBERS: MARISA CAUCHI HILI SIDH 0984 LOURDES BONELLO SIDH 1342 ANKICA DIMECH SIDH 1712Abstract:The presentation focuses on the potential of wine tourism in Gozo andits current state as practised by a family owned boutique winery Tal-Massar at Xaghra Gozo. A detailed definition of wine tourism is providedtogether with an extensive review of literature and studies. The teammembers describe also the methodology used to carry this study andoffer an in depth view of factors that are crucial to the implementation ofwine tourism in Gozo. Such factors include the characteristics of the site,marketing techniques, number of visitors, EU funding, networking,opportunities and threats. This study reveals also how this small wineryis carving out its own niche and is attracting high end tourists to Gozo.Furthermore this presentation aims to establish how wine tourism cancontribute to the Gozitan economy and can develop this niche marketinto one of the major markets on the island. Finally the study also shedslight on the importance of the education strategy, branding, doubleinsularity, and data collection and highlights the importance of policymaking with regards to wine and agritourism.Keywords: wine tourism, Tal-Massar winery, niche market, Gozo
The island of Gozo lies about 6 kilometres to the North east of Malta.Gozo has a population of 31,295 people (NSO, 2010,p.VI). Gozo has adifferent character and landscape to Malta as it has more clay outcropsand greener than its sister island. Gozo is also hillier and so it has morefertile valleys. Gozo’s climate is very good for wine production and itsgrapes mature before those of Malta. A comparative advantage thatGozo has is that during autumn and springtime, the sea is relativelywarmer when compared to northern seas ( Attard Tabone, 1999).In theRural Development Programme for Malta 2007-2013, Gozo is classifiedas a rural area. Therefore Gozo is attracting eco-tourists due to thevarious activities which visitors can indulge in, such as hiking, cycling,bird watching, and wine tourism. Gozo is also faced with thephenomenon of double insularity, which means that it is only accessiblevia Malta, as there are no direct links to other countries. Some see thisas a problem, however it can be a good opportunity for Gozo. Gozo canbe seen as a destination where visitors can relax from the hectic urbanlife and experience authentic products such as wine.Recently efforts have been made to promote this island as a distincttourism destination offering niche markets which tourists can enjoy.Interestingly Gozo has a higher rate (40%) of repeat visitors than Malta(30%) (Ministry for Gozo, 2009,p.13) However the relatively low numberof visitors to Gozo and seasonality issues hinder entrepreneurialinvestment (Ministry for Gozo, 2009,p.12The Government of Malta has issued a set of policies to achieve the EUtarget to increase the competitiveness of the agricultural sector, enhancethe environment and the countryside through support of landmanagement and enhance the quality of life in rural areas by promotingthe diversification of economic activities. (European Commission, online2006). Wine tourism as part of rural tourism helps tackle the scarcity ofeconomic activity associated with rural areas.Once this niche market isconsolidated, Gozo will move from its stereotypic description of a ‘sunand sea destination’ and attracts tourism all year round.The World Tourism Organisation describes the pull factors of ruraltourism and mantains that in this activity tourists are: “seeking ruralpeace;(which) is away from the mainstream, away from areas ofintensive tourism activity. It is engaged in by visitors who wish to interactwith the rural environment and the host community, in a meaningful andauthentic way” (World Tourism Organisation, 2003,p.3). The MaltaTourism Authority (MTA) also supports this type of tourism as long asthe development ensures the sustainability of the environment,community and the economy (NCSD, (online), 2006, p.41-42)
Wine tourism may be explained as the visiting of tourists to an areaspecifically to taste wine, learn about its production andmanufacturing.Getz (1998) suggests that wine tourism has the potentialto generate further business and profits for wine makers and other winerelated products as well as for visitor services. There is also growingresearch that suggests “…wine producing methods and wines have longbeen associated with cultural and heritage endeavours” (William andKelly 2001 p.61). Croce and Perri (2010, p.45) also suggest that winetourism shares similar characteristics to cultural tourism and that “people who expressively choose food and wine tourism are essentiallycultural tourists.” Mitchell et al (2002 p.118) claims that understandingthe behaviour of wine tourist is of utmost importance to all stakeholdersas “it can help to provide important insights into who the wine tourist isand what motivates them to visit a winery, take a guided tour, attend awine festival or purchase wine and why, thus allowing marketers andmanagers to effectively target and develop markets”.Wine production in Gozo dates back to the Phoenician era. When Maltabecome EU member, the government offered subsidies on the plantingof vineyards and winery equipment. This was intended to combat themassive influx of imported wines that now had shed off their levies. Italy,Spain, France, Greece and Cyprus together with new world wines suchas Australia, Chile and Argentina are the major competitors for wine.Italy and Spain already have the advantage of established wines, winetrails and wine tourism. Competing with these established destinationswould be initially a difficult task due to lack of wine trails and badreputation of Maltese wine. Unfortunately, in the past wine in Malta andGozo had been made from grapes of inferior quality and lacked goodwine producing practices.The size of Gozo also makes an ideal destination to travel around evenduring a short stay. Wineries can take the advantage of this toencourage visitors to come to Gozo and incorporate a visit to a wineryeither part of an overall holiday or as part of a short break thusincreasing value for money. Getz et al (1999) suggest that high volumevisitors are not necessarily essential for the development of wine tourismbut that is possible to focus on smaller numbers of high yield touristswho often spend the most. They (1999, p.24) also continue to suggestthat “…small-scale wine tourism can be a good strategy in that it avoidsproblem of congestion and overcommercialisation”. Due to the size ofGozo and also the small size of the winery, this is probably a positivefactor to consider and this strategy compliments the size of Gozo’swineries. Since Gozo and Malta are not renowned for its wineries, northere is abundance, one should highlight the importance for wine
producers to pool their resources and work together to create anddevelop a positive image of Maltese and Gozitan wine rather thanworking as individual entities.Malta’s accession into the EU in 2004, meant that as of May 2007, wineproduction had to adhere to a set of criteria. This saw the introduction ofthe systems to ensure quality standards. The Ministry of Rural Affairsstated “ One such system is the category of wine known as Quality WineProduced in Specified Regions (QWPSR), a system that in Malta isknown as D.O.K (Denominazzjoni ta’ Origini Kontrollata) wines.”Conclusion:Although Gozo does not have the reputation as Bordeaux or renownedas Italy, it does have the potential to pursue wine tourism due to itsclimate and pristine landscapes. Wine tourism could be introduced as acomplimentary niche within the culture and heritage segment. This willrequire an inter coordinated approach and extensive planning andresearch. Hall et al (2000), Cambourne, Macoinis (2000), amongstothers, believe in the importance of industry integration. This wouldinvolve wineries, tour operators, catering industry, farmers, Maltese foodmanufactures and wine distribution and retailers. Wine tourism in Gozocan achieve a common goal so that all may enjoy the benefits thisindustry could generate.