WASHINGTON, D.C. — We knew instinctively that 2020 has been a brutal year for wine country tourism nationwide, and worldwide, due to Covid-19 and its related restrictions. After all, how can a people-driven business survive without people?
Winetourism.com has now added some data confirming our instincts through its Global Report of Covid-19 Impact on Wine Tourism, based on a survey of 1,203 wineries in 34 countries that was conducted November 16-23.
To start, international tourism arrivals in various countries dropped by 70% in the January-August period. So it comes as no surprise that 47% of respondents reported a 90% drop in international visitors. In terms of visitors from anywhere, 53% saw declines between 50% and 80%.
Still, the glass is more than half full for the future. Asked when wine tourism will return to normal, 31% said 2021 and 58% predicted 2022, meaning 9 out of 10 thought it would be better within two years. In addition, 80% felt that wine tourism would increase over the next 10 years.
And many seem willing to bet on that. Asked how much they intend to invest in boosting wine tourism next year, 32% said more and 31% the same. In terms of current revenue streams, 56% are direct wine sales, 37% wine tastings and tours, and 7% space rental.
In many areas around the world, as in the United States, the totally unforeseen disruptions of the Covid era have forced winery owners to revisit their traditional marketing strategies and respond creatively, ultimately leading to a more sustainable business.
That’s not all bad.
— Jim Trezise, WineAmerica
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