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Sunday 26 November 2023

Rioja: a great place for a wine tourism talkfest

Logrono looks like a great spot for a junket. 

It is in the Rioja wine region in Spain and this week hosted the UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism.

The tourism organisation reports that the conference had “the focus placed firmly on inclusion and sustainability for local communities and territories”.

But what was done? 

A few platitudes are forthcoming as we were told the event decided “paving the way towards inclusive growth, especially in rural areas, requires clear policies and a commitment to embracing digital transformation and innovation. Recognizing this, the conference brought together key stakeholders and leaders from across the growing wine tourism sector to address priorities including education, skills development and the effective use of data.”

What they actually decided remains a mystery. 

We do know the event welcomed thought-leaders - such a great phrase - from both emerging and established wine destinations, including Argentina, Armenia, Chile, France, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and the US. 

“As well as celebrating the growing interest in wine tourism, the event made clear the challenges for building more competitive destinations and transforming demand into economic growth and social inclusion. Over two days, workshops and masterclasses focused on:

• Skills development and a better understanding of the impacts and trends of wine tourism were identified as crucial elements to create value and promote wine regions, ultimately enhancing their competitiveness.

• With the impact of climate change affecting the sector, experts debated how to progress sustainability in wine tourism as well and progress digitalization for better processes. Participants discussed the need to harmonise data collection, the use of new data sources and innovative strategies for expanding new products, outreach on social media, utilizing cutting-edge digital tools, and leveraging new technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, to create knowledge and a seamless experience.”


I’m not sure we are any the wiser. But I’m sure everyone had a great time. 

Australia was not officially represented, as far as I am aware.

Maybe next time, when the conference will be hosted in that global hotbed of wine tourism: Armenia. 

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