La Rioja, Spain, November 27, 2023 / TRAVELINDEX / The UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism has been held for the first time in La Rioja, one of the world’s leading wine tourism destinations, with the focus placed firmly on inclusion and sustainability for local communities and territories.
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.
Unlocking Excellence in Wine Tourism
The 7th edition of the UNWTO conference welcomed thought-leaders from both emerging and established wine destinations, including Argentina, Armenia, Chile, France, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and the United States of America. 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.
Inclusion and sustainability: Creating partnerships for growth
Navigating the complex network of stakeholders in wine tourism, the event also put the spotlight on the importance of having national and local wine tourism strategies while fostering the debate on new, innovative forms of collaboration. A series of masterclasses allowed participants from over 40 countries to exchange and expand their knowledge on the links of wine tourism with gastronomy, arts and culture, communication and branding, new technologies, product development and sustainability.
During the closing ceremony, La Rioja handed over the symbolic amphora to Armenia, marking the country’s status as the next host for the 8th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism in 2024.