In the recent times, competition in the food and wine sector has been rising. The dominant countries in the food and wine sector for instance France have been receiving competition from upcoming countries in the food and wine industry such as Italy, Spain and Australia.
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The rise in competition has resulted to competition for markets. Therefore, for countries to survive in the food and wine markets, they have been forced to adopt marketing strategies that will enable them achieve competitive strength or advantage. Countries have resorted to food and wine tourism as one of the marketing strategy that will help to enlarge their markets. This serves as part of promoting their products. Best examples include France and Australia (Thompson and Prideaux, 2009).
Food and wine tourism can be termed as a thematic, cultural, sustainable and integrated form of tourism. It is an example of integrated marketing practices. Different aspects of the marketing mix like place are explicated under this form of integrated marketing. Place is experienced through the products offered to the people touring the region which is undertaking this marketing exercise (Beech and Chadwick, 2005).
This approach of marketing is critical in opening up the food and wine market. However, the effectiveness of this marketing depends proper planning as well as controls. Therefore, this paper explores food and wine tourism as a strategy of marketing wine and food products in different countries across the world.
More focus will be on Australia. This paper will focus on the provision of an analysis regarding the target market for this exercise and factors motivating the strategy. The paper also looks into the probable future changes within the food and wine tourism industry, as well as the forces behind the changes (Carlsen and Charters, 2007).
Food and Wine Customers and Factors Motivating Food and Wine Tourism
Wine tourists, who are considered as wine customers, are diverse. They could be people travelling through the wine producing regions and stopping to buy wine. Also, this can refer to the general tourists who visit a country with the aim of touring the areas where favourite wine brands are produced.
Therefore, people taking leisure and or recreational time can also be considered as wine tourists. From the Australian perspective, wine tourism is the paying of a visit to the wineries and or wine making regions in order to experience and enjoy the unique features of the contemporary lifestyle of Australia which are associated with not only the enjoyment of wine but also the source of the wine including food, the landscape of the region and the cultural activities.
Most of the wine tourists and guests who visit the wine producing regions are viewed as either being potential or real lifestyle beverage customers. These tourists visit these areas with the aim of getting experiences related to wine consumption. This is according to the research conducted in wine producing regions within Australia. The aim of the research was to measure motivating factors behind wine tourism and the behaviours associated with the consumption of wine (Alant and Bruwer, 2004).
Wine tourist motivation is given much consideration in the general comprehension of the wine regions and the wineries. The understanding and needs, as well as expectation of customers, is important thus is contained in the motivational strategies. In Australia, the wine regions have been moulded in such a way that they do offer a variation in experience for people who visit them.
These regions also have food, relaxation and socializing events apart from the different tastes and qualities of wine. There is an understanding that customers will be motivated by the general environment of the region and the variation in the number of services that they can get by visiting the tourist regions (Carlsen and Charters, 2007).
The market for wine has seen a big growth. This is because the wine industry has been integrated with the food industry to promote the sale of food and wine products. There has been a shift in market focus. This has been facilitated with the discovery that significant sales will be attained when maximum attention is paid to tourists who have the characteristic of taste. Therefore in wine and food tourism, tourists are the target markets (Sutanonpaiboon and Atkin, 2012).
Different strategies are used to encourage and motivate tourists and promote the food and wine sector in the long run. In marketing, the perceptions of customers are very important to the marketer. Tourist perception has been given attention as one of the means through which customers are motivated.
Food and wine Festivals experiences are designed by firms in the food and wine industry. The goals of such festivals are to shape the perceptions of the food and wine tourists. These festivals have been found to be very helpful in capturing the attention of customers and thus expanding the marketing opportunities of the tourism products.
Through the festivals, food and wine managers get a chance of fostering the perceptions of consumers on products. The festivals act acts as a marketing arena where the managers gets a chance to give comprehensive details of their brands to consumers in this case – tourists attending these festivals (Axelsen and Swan, 2010).
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A number of countries such as Australia, United States and New Zealand use the destination marketing approach in food and wine tourism. The region where wine is produced is important here and the special features of the region. The information concerning the region where the wine is processed was important to tourists in selecting the wine. This is especially in Australia and the United States (Sutanonpaiboon and Atkin, 2012).
Future Challenges to Food and Wine Tourism
Just like issues of sustainable development affect other sectors, it also affects food and wine tourism sector. Sustainable development together with marketing is applicable to tourism in general, but has not been linked to certain tourism forms such as wine tourism. In the current world economy which is consumer-centric, tourism marketers more often seek for effective ways of marketing tourism destinations – destination marketing.
Therefore, environmental wine tourism is becoming part of what defines wine and food tourism in the tourist destinations. Therefore, future wine buyers will be attracted to products that have incorporated environmental conservation measures in their processing. Therefore, wine tourist will be required to heed to these concerns and ensure that they are reflected in their marketing and advertising strategies (Barber, Taylor and Deale, 2010).
Scientific research has revealed that there are some aspects of wines which have a negative effect on the consumers of these products. Therefore, issues of wine safety and consumer health are becoming a subject of concern for both the producers of wine and the consumers.
Scientific research is revealing that there is the presence of potentially lethal compounds in wines. These compounds include trace metals, phytosanitary products, microbial toxics and sulphites. More issues still surround these outcomes and are likely to affect the consumption of these products. This will affect the food and wine tourism sector. Consumers will need to be given assurance of wine health quality by the brand producers (Pozo-Bayón, Monagas, Bartolomé and Moreno-Arribas, 2012).
South Australia is one of the regions of Australia that has invested heavily in the food and wine tourism industry. However, more states are entering into the industry bringing a lot of competition. Thus, the number of customers is reducing as a result of more food and wine tourism destinations. This is also true of the entire food and wine tourism industry in the world.
Therefore, firms in this industry should brace up for more competition as the food and wine industry becomes and area of interest for many investors (Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, 2005). Research has indicated the need for developing new products and experiences in order to craft a greater sense of destination. This is what South Australia has adopted in facing the competition that is expected (The Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre, 2008).
The food and wine tourism is an industry that is gaining momentum in the modern economy. It is one way through which the wine industry has been able to capture more customers. The food and wine industry has been doing well in a number of countries like France and Australia.
In this industry, destination marketing is the strategy that is mostly used to attract customers. However, the sector faces a number of challenges like competition, health issues of product consumption and environmentalism issues which will affect its well being in the future.
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Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation 2005, Wine Australia: Directions to 2025 Global Consumer Trends Overview. Viewed on https://www.wineaustralia.com/
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