Michel Roux

Saturday, 15 September 2012

How fairly does SAT promotes Wine Tourism?

Below is a letter from a reader regarding his concerns about Vindaba, South Africa’s first specialist wine tourism exhibition, taking place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from September 25-27. Also see Vindaba’s response below.

Reader’s letter:

Dear Editor, Can your publication obtain some clarification from SAT and Vindaba organisers, as I have been unsuccessful, as an individual buyer at Vindaba, in getting the right answers.

Vindaba has been well perceived and received by the industry, so much so that many wine routes, tourism offices, individual businesses and sponsors have signed up. At the first de-brief held in Paarl in March, I asked how smaller and lesser known wine routes and tourism attractions could be assured that the more famous routes such as Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Robertson would not be given priority.

The answer was that all routes would be asked to submit itineraries and all routes would be treated equally, and that priority would be given to individual businesses taking part and buying space at Vindaba, of which I am one.

Three weeks prior to the event, alarm bells have started to ring as none of the businesses and properties featured in the Paarl/Wellington Vindaba tour have received any enquiries or confirmed bookings.

On investigation, I was told that two German journalists would be travelling to Paarl and Wellington and, although very grateful, my question, still unanswered, is: thirty-four buyers and media have been registered as being hosted for the event; only six pre- and post-Vindaba tours are taking place, so if two are allocated to Paarl/Wellington, what has happened to the balance and to the fair treatment among routes? What happened to priorities given to properties that are taking part in the event and paying for it?

At this stage I have only received vague answers blaming teething problems. My view is that there is more to it and would like your publication to assist Paarl and Wellington suppliers to find out the truth. Maybe SAT and Vindaba organisers would prefer to answer my question publicly than privately.

Angelo Casu- Grand Dédale Country House

Vindaba’s Response
Vindaba has previously sent the following facts directly to Mr Casu and now welcomes the opportunity to share them more broadly.

As a point of clarity: Grand Dédale is not an ‘individual buyer’ at Vindaba, and does not feature on our exhibitors’ list. Nonetheless Mr Casu’s establishment was recommended as a part of the Paarl/Wellington itinerary by the managers of those wine routes, and will consequently host three international leisure journalists and two international buyers over the course of Vindaba.

South African Tourism is a presenting partner of Vindaba and, in that capacity, is hosting 32 international leisure media at the event, as well as on pre- and post-show tours. In partnership with SAA, Vindaba itself will be hosting a further five buyers. The South African Wine Routes Forum designed and submitted nine itineraries that represented all 17 wine routes. In addition all Vindaba exhibitors who had signed up by then (31 May) were automatically included in the itineraries. These itineraries were presented unchanged to our guests, who then made their choices based on their preferences and needs.

The fact that only six of the nine itineraries submitted (Franschhoek, Bot River/Elgin, West Coast, Stellenbosch, Paarl/Wellington and Breedekloof) will be activated over Vindaba is a consequence of the choices made by the media groupings themselves. It is worth noting that at least two of these itineraries can be designated “lesser known”. Vindaba can absolutely assert that every effort was made to be inclusive and fair.

In conclusion, we would also like to remind Mr Casu that the South African Wine Routes Forum is an executive member of the Vindaba committee and has been integral to the design and organisation of the event. Vindaba is a non-profit, non-commercial platform that adheres to the principle of open opportunity. We acknowledge and celebrate South Africa’s wine travel product as being a diverse and wide-ranging offering and will continue over future events to expose that diversity to important wine travel markets.

Susannah Holz - Project Manager of Vindaba.

Have you experienced a similar issue or do you think Vindaba adequately represents all wine routes? Let us know by posting your comment below.

Tourism Update

Just a clarification
Angelo Casu
12 Sep 2012
Although Grand Dédale Country House does not feature on the exhibitors list, is an active member and committee member of Wellington Tourism, which, together with Wellington Wine Route, are paying exhibitors at Vindaba. My queries are intended to get some clarifications on behalf of our members who are actually participating in the costs of the stand. Angelo Casu

Admition of faults?
14 Sep 2012
Interesting to read snippets of an email circulated by the organiser: This has always been an imperfect scenario: nine itineraries, guests given free choice by SAT, and only about 34 media means we will invariably have an uneven spread; Please note I formally requested that SAT redistribute the Franschhoek group, to spread them better amongst the routes, but they were unwilling to do that; Please let me know how I can help with any other hiccups, queries,disgruntled members. Maybe SAT should also answer some questions to why certain routes have not been considered at all!!!! Does Franschhoek needs more advertising and exposure!!!!! I am also a disgruntled member, but will I hear the same excuses given to Grand Dédale Country House, who I understand, is paying contribution to his stand, but he is not seen as an exhibitors. Therefore, if we are contributing to the expense of our Route stand but we are not seen as exhibitors, what are we classified as???? Looking forward to hearing some answers

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