The 1st EnoTourism Forum, the largest wine tourism industry event in Russia, took place in Abrau-Durso on May 12 and 13. It was promoted and organized by the Abrau-Durso Tourism Centre with the support of the Global Wine Tourism Organization (GWTO) and the International Center for Wine and Gastronomy (ICWAG), bringing together more than 400 professionals from 11 countries.
Abrau-Durso owner and Forum promoter Boris Titov commented on his company’s position as the largest enotourism centre, “Abrau is a notable player in this segment in Russia and even in the world. But we will also stop developing if there are not many small and medium sized signature, boutique designed wineries. Enotourists don’t go to a wine region to visit one winery, they are interested in exploring the whole wine province”.
GWTO President José Antonio Vidal gave an overview of current trends enotourism at a new level, praised “the potential of enotourism both in the world and in Russia”, and called it the “industry of happiness: tourism, gastronomy, culture and leisure. GWTO welcomes all stakeholders in the development of enotourism: governmental and public bodies, wine producers, tourism companies, industry associations and academia”.
Leonid Gelibterman, GWTO Vice President for Eurasia: “Based on its own history and following the trends of the modern world, Russian enotourism can successfully compete on the international market and develop an (eno)gastronomic culture in Russian society.
The participants of the Forum discussed the development of enotourism in the Russian wine regions, described the main problems and possible solutions. It was, in particular, promotion and commercialization (through GWTO MICE events and EnoWineClub reservations platform), International Quality Certificate on customer experience (by GWTO Q seal), training of qualified personnel and wine tourism guides (GWTO Academy), creation of a unified map of wine routes (GWTO Advisors), improvement of legislation, economic efficiency and accessibility of transport.
Leonid Popovich, GWTO Director for Russia, stressed the particular importance of the cooperation of market players: only together will it be possible to achieve positive changes.
Within the framework of the Forum, an important event for national enotourism took place: the first three Russian wineries were awarded certificates of membership in the Global Wine Tourism Organization: Abrau-Durso, Château de Talu and WinePark received their certificates.
Joining the international organization will provide opportunities for exchange of experiences, training with GWTO Academy, hosting events, international wine tourism quality certification, participating in the global wine tourism booking platform and advice on creating national and regional enotourism associations.
GWTO Vice President for Latin America, Pablo Singerman, gave an overview of the state of enotourism in different countries of the region. He drew attention to an important point: an “oenological” tourist spends on average 56% more than a regular tourist.
Sergei Danilov, Director of GWTO in Uzbekistan, spoke about the connection of enotourism with gastronomy, as well as with the history and culture of individual countries and regions.
A real eye-opener for many forum participants was the speech by GWTO China Director Jiawei Jiang on the impressive pace of development of oenology and enotourism in China where GWTO President will participate in the Yantai International Expo on June 16 and 17.
Ceylan Sensoy, Marketing Director of the Turkish Tourism Promotion and Development Agency, spoke about her country’s emerging enotourism regions.
I GWTO Global Summit to be held in Uruguay
Arnaldo Nardone, GWTO MICE Director, presented the 1st GWTO Global Summit on EnoTourism to be held in Spring 2024 in Punta del Este (Uruguay).
“Uruguay is honoured to host the first GWTO Global Summit next year. We are very grateful that our country has been chosen to host it -said Daniel Rubén Castillos, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay to the Russian Federation.
Personnel make the difference
A panel was dedicated to the topic of Training and Talent in the field of enotourism. Moderated by Elena Didenko, director of the GWTO Academy in Russia, Russian experts together with the directors of the GWTO Academy in Portugal and Chile, Bebiana Monteiro and Jorge Espinosa, respectively, addressed the lack of qualified personnel.
“Every employee who meets a tourist must be highly professional. In entourism specially, a guide must not only be an excellent communicator, but also capable of transmitting emotions,” José Antonio Vidal stressed.
It is envisaged that the EnoTourism Forum will become an annual meeting place for wine tourism industry professionals in Russia and other countries.