Meininger´s article about Argentine wine tourism


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Meininger´s article about Argentine wine tourism

  1. 1. 3/11 MEININGER’S WBI M A R K E T W AT C H ARGENTINA WINE TOURISM GROWS IN ARGENTINA Argentina has grown its wine tourism offerings in tandem with its wine exports. As Daniel López Roca explains, this allows wine regions to benefit twice from the same bottle of wine – tourists become ambassadors for Argentine wines, while wine drinkers become tourists. number of specialised sommeliers, wine buyers, importers, journalists, and groups of wine enthusiasts. The arrival of these new companies, new specialists and new wine styles made Argen- tine wines a product that you can buy in almost every market today, bringing throngs of curious wine tourists to the quiet and pastoral region of Mendoza. They wanted to find out what was going on, how and where the wines were produced, and by whom. It also helped matters that the devaluation of the local currency (Argentine peso) allowed tourism in Argentina to become a significant activity for the regional economy towards 2003. That year also witnessed the formal establishment of the “National Wine Tourism Committee” among Bodegas de Argentina, as a result of the work Tourists view the vineyards from a classic car. that had been done in association with the Caminos del Vino (Wine Roads) project, begin- W inemaking is much more than an Argentina, the association of Argentine ning in 1998. economic and agricultural venture; wineries. Wineries now welcome tourists, and most it’s an activity that reveals both the have even created tourism business units run Growing an industry cultural and social identity of the people by high-level professionals. Large wineries are involved. For this reason, wine-producing It was the province of Mendoza that served now absolutely committed to the development countries around the world have created as the epicentre of Argentina’s wine revolution of their brands and know that satisfied wine tourism strategies to exhibit and promote in the 1990s, where total investment in the tourists will eventually become their free their wine industries. Wine tourism is an wine industry reached $1.3bn within the first brand ambassadors when they return to their excellent opportunity to spread the culture 10 years. Those were years of hard work for the home countries. In addition, small wineries of wine while also promoting regional devel- Mendocinos, planting vines and building new also benefit from tourism, enabling them to opment. Visitors arriving in a wine-growing wineries. Argentine producers dreamt of wine sell their products directly to consumers while region can experience this culture, enjoy exports, but in 2004 they amounted to no more avoiding intermediaries. the landscape, and further enhance their than 3% of the total volume produced annually. Shaking off the slow economy experience by later telling friends and rela- This slow start can partly be attributed to tives about what they have done and seen. the fact that development of tourism was not a In 2008 a little more than one million visitors Argentina is one such place where wine priority for the wineries. Tourists were seen as arrived in Argentina, but in 2009 this number tourism is successfully growing. Argentina a nuisance, and the wineries were more con- fell for a variety of reasons, including the gener- enjoys optimal geographic and climatic cerned with the development of their wines. al decline in world tourism triggered by the qualities, and boasts a wide variety of The warming of wineries to the tourism world economic crisis, the unavailability of cred- regions for the wine tourist to visit. In the boom began gradually in the late 1990s and it, the rise of unemployment, and the H1N1 flu first half of 2010 nearly 770,000 visitors early 2000s. Attracted by the development of pandemic. But things have rebounded nicely. travelled the wine roads of Argentina, a the local wine industry and, especially, The province of Mendoza alone attracted 57.5% increase over the same period the because of the growth in exports of high qual- nearly 570,000 visitors to wineries in the first previous year, as reported by Bodegas de ity wines, the wineries began to receive a large half of 2010, a 68% increase over the same 54
  2. 2. 3/11 MEININGER’S WBI M A R K E T W AT C H period in 2009. Of these visitors 64% were INTERVIEW WITH GABRIEL FIDEL national residents, while 36% were interna- The creation of the Department of Tourism tional visitors, mostly from the USA, Brazil, Chile, the United Kingdom and France. In Gabriel Fidel has served as gastronomy has developed so much in Mendoza, 2010 those wine exports that Argentine pro- the Minister of Government you need to look at the growth of the training and ducers had dreamt of reached the equivalent Affairs, Minister of Economy, formal education in the subject. The idea is to gain of 17% of the year’s total production. and Secretary of Tourism of more space in universities to develop wine tourism the government of the programs and courses.” Cause for success province of Mendoza. When Today, wine tourism in Argentina has in office in 1998, he created Department of Tourism reached full development. The country has Caminos del Vino (Wine Roads), which was for- The control of all the activities required to expand diverse wine regions with breathtaking land- mally established in 2003 with the creation of the tourism services called for the recently created scapes – 16 well-defined micro-regions in the National Wine Tourism Committee among Department of Tourism within the Bodega de Argenti- country – and each wine-producing province Bodegas de Argentina. na association. Fidel explains the mission of this enti- is varied as well. There are four different As a consultant, he is currently heading a strate- ty: “To consolidate the various wine regions of regions in the province of Mendoza alone. gic plan for wine in Argentina for the Multilateral the country under the Caminos del Vino brand Mendoza and Cafayate – in the province of Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American umbrella. In addition, it emerges as an exchange Salta – are the regions favoured by foreigners. Development Bank (IDB), the National Secretary forum for reflection, knowledge and wine tourism The number of tourists continues to grow in an of Tourism and Bodegas de Argentina, and experience in order to encourage the development of impressive way. There are currently 180 winer- assesses local and foreign investors, mainly in products and protect the identity of each region by ies open to tourism and 50 have their own the wine business and regional economy. promoting both the growth and the differentiation of restaurants. There are also wineries that offer local communities. The members of the product club lodging and feature such activities as swim- Creating regional identities are creating business networks, increasing opportu- ming, tennis, golf and polo. Visitors can choose Fidel, when asked about the next steps to consoli- nities and promoting collaboration in joint projects.” to attend cooking classes, view the vineyards date the wine tourism boom, said, “In the case of Fidel adds, “We have been working with Bodegas de from air balloons, go horseback riding, tour the wine tourism, our objective for the following years is Argentina for many years with the National Commit- region in classic cars, and of course have the to continue with the diversification of the offer, to tee of Wine Tourism, Belén Gaua (now director of full range of traditional wine-related activities make a great effort to ensure that the regions of rel- Tourism Promotion of Mendoza) was in charge of it. available, such as picking grapes, pruning, atively lower development grow, and to continue In addition, we have been working on the project of blending wine, and, naturally, wine tasting. creating regional identity. For example, we don’t consolidation of wine tourism in Argentina IDB/MIF, There are many cultural offerings on the want the South of Mendoza to be sold generically. which took place in several stages. One was the calendar, with highlights including the musical Within that region there are many strong identity development of a strategic plan for the different Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (The Grape Har- features that can be exploited for a town to become wine roads, and the other the development of prod- vest Festival) in March; the festival Música a tourist destination. If we strengthen certain locali- ucts for each of these routes. New geo-referenced Clásica por los Caminos del Vino (Classical ties that possess identity, as Villa Atuel, its history cartography was made, the Wine Tourism Observa- Music Along the Wine Roads) around Easter; and protagonists, community and gastronomic offer, tory was created, and a network was designed in Rock y tango por los caminos del vino (Rock and that micro-destination will raise the basis for com- accordance with a quality plan, among other things. Tango Music Along the Wine Roads); the clas- petitiveness in that region. Thus, you can mention The creation of the Department of Tourism (before, it sic cars race Rally de las Bodega (Wineries’ the town of Pituil in the province of La Rioja as The had been a Committee) completed the plan. The Rally); as well as other artistic and sporting Capital of Distillates in Argentina. Today, tourists are partners participating are not members of Bodegas activities throughout the year. always looking for new experiences, so this can de Argentina exclusively. The idea is to work with In Mendoza alone, tourism (not only wine- capture their interest in an innovative way. The the entire cluster (wineries, travel agencies, hotels, related) now contributes more than $1bn per tourist experiences range from visiting large wine restaurants, all the providers in the network), not year to the province’s treasury and Gross cellars to walking around the streets in a small just with wineries.” Domestic Product (GDP). No doubt it is one of town, learning about its craft producers or attending Fidel emphasizes that, “the issue of quality is not the sectors of greatest growth in Mendoza, festivals, such as in Cachi in the province of Salta.” related only to expensive services, but to each which receives two million visitors each year segment of the product, from a five star hotel, to a (the average visitor spends five to six days and The faces of tomorrow Bed & Breakfast or a hostel. They all need to provide $90.00 a day). Such is the importance of The success of wine tourism demands young, tourist services that comply with the required tourism – not only in Mendoza but also in the specifically trained professionals, so this has awak- quality parameters.” rest of the country – that it represents 8% of ened a growing interest in tourism in Argentine uni- The Department of Tourism has launched a promotion total exports of Argentina and 7% of its GDP. versities and training centers. As an example, there and communication plan, developed a web site, and Different factors have contributed to the cur- exist tertiary-level institutes throughout the province is currently using social media networks for promo- rent successful situation. Mendoza, in particu- of Mendoza offering tourism-related courses. About tion. The Department is actively participating in all lar, has been strongly identified as a wine des- this matter Fidel says:“When you wonder why tourism and wine fairs to promote in Argentina. tination for tourists. It’s the first reason to visit. 56
  3. 3. 3/11 MEININGER’S WBI ARGENTINA Wines of Argentina’s images to promote tourism.Other factors are the increased consumption has shown for wine is of great importance.of quality wines and the reappraisal of wine as Wine is now a priority for national tourisma beverage at a global level, as well as and last year it was designated the Nationalconsumers’ growing interest in the identity Beverage by President Cristina Fernandez.and origin of the wines they drink. The National Secretary of Tourism serves Argentine wines in all their presentationsEstablishing the future throughout the world. Wine is present in The growth of wine tourism in Argentina in every product promotion, and the Secretarythe past five years has made it essential for has generated alliances with Wines of Argenti-wineries to work in association with other na (the association of wine exporters) to havecompanies to provide more and better servic- wine present at every to an increasingly demanding public. A new airlines and transport companies, restaurantschannel of Bodegas de Argentina association, and travel agencies, all strongly committed to Organisations:Caminos del Vino (Wine Roads), has been the activity. Bodegas de Argentina A.C.created for this reason. To heighten awareness, there have been To date, there are 29 major companies asso- private as well as public actions. The new www.bodegasdeargentina.orgciated, including five-star hotels, wine hotels, interest that the National Secretary of Tourism Cultural Events of Mendoza Classic Cars Rally in Mendoza Ignacio Ciancio, the young local responsible for the Department of Tourism, Rally de las Bodegas, a classic cars competition along 630km of beautiful roads with explained, “In Argentina wine has reached such a level of stops in different wineries has become a traditional event. In the 2010 edition, 71 development that there are wineries with marvelous construc- classic cars participated in the race that went up to the famous Uco Valley, touring tions beside traditional, historic buildings. The growth of wine the wine roads and visiting five prestigious wineries in Mendoza: Terrazas de los tourism made it mandatory for all clusters to bet heavily on Andes, Cheval des Andes, Vistandes, Tupungato Winelands and Pulenta Estate. services and high standards of quality to match the level of other major wine capitals of the world.” Harvest Festival – Fiesta de la Vendimia “In this sense, and understanding this unique opportunity, the Every year in the first weekend of March the Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia (The Tourism Department of Bodegas de Argentina released at the end of 2010 a new Grape Harvest Festival) takes place in the province of Mendoza. This traditional membership to a product-oriented club called Caminos del Vino, which incorporat- festival started officially as the ‘end of the harvest’ celebration in 1936 and is one of ed travel agencies and tourism companies specialised in wine tourism, wine hotels the most important festivals in Argentina. Every year a new musical is put on in the and lodges, restaurants, catering companies and food services, and other providers Frank Romero Day theater. closely linked to tourism services,” said Ciancio. It is an impressive spectacle of light and sound featuring more than 800 performers The Caminos del Vino product Club is an exclusive membership that represents the and dancers. The show pays homage to different aspects of the life of wine produc- most important networking of Argentina’s wine tourism industry. In it, each of the ers, their sufferings and happiness. At the end of the show, a big finale sees the elec- members has access to valuable information about the sector, participates in pro- tion of the Reina Nacional de la Vendimia (Harvest Queen) from the girls that repre- motional trips to the most attractive emissive markets, and receives visits from spe- sent the 18 departments of the province of Mendoza. cialised journalists, among other benefits. The program starts two months earlier, around the end of January, with the election “More than 29 companies related to wine tourism have already become members of the representatives of each of the 18 departments. of Caminos del Vino in Argentina and thus contribute their efforts and professional- ism to 180 wineries that receive visitors. This is the reason why Caminos del Vino Caminos del Vino, the wine tourism cluster has become the most important cluster in the country,” added Ciancio. In order to achieve the consolidation of the wine tourism products in activity, the new Thus, wineries see their efforts supported and enhanced by a conglomerate ready to Department of Tourism of Bodegas de Argentina (the Argentine wineries’ association) work professionally in the consolidation of tourism services in a destination now was created. known worldwide for the quality of its wines. 57