One of the Western Cape’s biggest tourism attractions is reporting a dramatic increase in visitor numbers ahead of the peak summer season.
Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest wine-producing estate, recorded a remarkable 56% increase in visitor numbers in October and a 55% increase in turn-over from its tasting room.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said the estate, which usually attracts in excess of 350 000 visitors annually, is on track for a record-breaking year.
“The latest figures from Groot Constantia are testament to the importance of wine tourism, which generates over R6 billion for the economy per annum, and to the rapid growth in numbers we're seeing. Last year, many of our tourism establishments reported their highest visitor numbers yet. If the November figures out of this key establishment are anything to go by, we're in for another great year for our tourism sector. This sector is a very important source of revenue and job creation in the province, and working with industry, we have plans to ramp it up significantly. The current exchange rate is also a major opportunity for us which we must maximize."
Marketing manager of Groot Constantia, Grant Newton, added: "Winning the "Best Chardonnay in the world" award at Chardonnay du Monde earlier this year definitely put us back on many international travelers bucket lists of "must visit attractions". We have however also worked very hard to counter the negative effect that the VISA regulations caused us and have seen the fruits of our labour in that we have had a marked increase in visitors from Europe, Africa and the Americas. South Africans have also re-discovered Groot Constantia and many have become ambassadors of what is essentially a national pride. We are looking forward to a massive festive season and I remain very positive about what 2016 has in store for us."
Minister Winde said the wine tourism niche, which has been prioritised by Project Khulisa, was an important economic driver.
“Our wines are amongst the highest-quality in the world and our offering is a major drawcard for international visitors. Just this week, one of our local winemakers was named as the best in the world. Abrie Beeslaar, of Kanonkop, was named as the International Winemaker of the Year at the International Wine and Spirit Competition gala ceremony, which was held in London.
“Over 300 experts from across the world selected the winners of this competition. I’d like to congratulate Abrie for this prestigious achievement. Accolades such as these garner international recognition for our destination's offering, boost exports and attract even more visitors to our region.”