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Wine Tourism: An Approach to Sustainable Rural Development

The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) called for wine tourism to be made part of national tourism and rural development policies at the 3rd UNWTO Wine Tourism Conference that took place in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova during September 6-7.

UNWTO_new logoHeld in partnership with the Moldovan government, the two days of discussions engaged experts from 30 countries and addressed UNWTO’s priority of enhancing tourism’s socioeconomic benefits, looking at specific segments like wine tourism.

The third edition of the UNWTO conference came to the conclusion that to make wine tourism a tool for rural development local communities must be engaged in and benefit from the entire tourism value chain.

Among the conference’s main findings was the agreement of all participants that, if wine tourism is bolstered by partnerships, skills development, data-driven research and support to small businesses and entrepreneurs, it could be an area for job creation, innovation and new collaboration models.

“The complexity of wine tourism development and the diversity of stakeholders involved requires innovative models of collaboration; we need to break down walls and promote new clusters,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili.

The conference also called for governance models that could help destination managers offer wine tourism as part of a holistic rural and cultural tourism approach.

The conference called for more research in order to measure and understand wine tourism trends and consumers, and compare destinations internationally with the same criteria. It also concluded that creating job opportunities through wine tourism requires developing human capital skilled in new technologies and sustainability, as well as soft skills such as teamwork and how to tell the story of wine.

According to the UNWTO, the conference produced eight key areas of action: wine tourism strategy and governance; partnerships; community engagement; supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs; wine tourism for rural development; researching trends and consumers; skills development; and aligning tourism with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The action areas are expected to be taken forward to the 4th UNWTO Wine Tourism Conference in 2019, which will be hosted by Chile. Portugal will host the 2020 edition.

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