As the festive season kicks in, agritourism is set to be on the rise with visits to wine farms, and experts in the field have said it was all system go to welcome tourists in many parts of Mzansi.
Western Cape premier Alan Winde said the tourism season is going to be a bumper period for the province as there is an indication of over 200 international flights with tourists landing who are expected to visit wine farms.
“The best export is when a person is prepared to buy a plane ticket and fly to the Western Cape and enjoy a bottle of wine made here, or buy vegetables that farmers are growing.
“For us, what is best is that the tourists, when they come here, a farmer does not have to ship their products, tourists come and get in our backyard, that is the best export. We going to have a bumper agricultural and tourism season,” he said.
Cheers to beers
Brewmaster Apiwe Nxusani-Mawela explained that beer tourism is a fairly new type of agritourism that sees tourists visit breweries and taprooms to sample local beers and experience the various beer styles.
“Typically the brewmaster would take the tourist through a guided brewery tour and tasting experience, and participants get to touch and feel the various ingredients used to make the beers such as barley, hops and yeast.
“South Africa has a vibrant and growing craft beer industry that appeals to both the local and international tourism market,” she said.
Nxusani-Mawela said the industry is well in its recovery mode post the Covid-19 pandemic and she and other colleagues are eagerly waiting for the influx of tourists during this festive season for a further boost in sales revenue.
According to Nxusani-Mawela, brewery visits and beer tasting experiences are used in many countries as one of the ways to boost local tourism. The number of people who travel around the world looking to experience unique food and beverages is growing rapidly.
Celebrating Africa through beer
Nxusani-Mawel and her brand, TolokaziBeer, use this as an opportunity to complete the authentic South African cuisine experience.
“We are looking forward to sharing our craft with both local and international tourists this festive season at our taprooms- KwaTolokazi Soweto and KwaTolokazi in Sandton celebrating Africa Through Beer,” she said.
Beer South Africa chief executive Patricia Pillay said South Africa has unique and world-class products and experiences to offer on the beautiful hops and barley farms, and in our 200 craft breweries across the country.
Showcasing what SA has to offer
“Agritourism, as well as related forms of niche tourism such as beer tourism, offers visitors a chance to authentically experience the South African landscape and the people that work it, love it, and make a living on it.
“South Africa has the potential for showcasing farm breweries. My experience is that farm breweries can focus on sustainability, authenticity and heritage. With these three pillars we can attract more and more tourists,” she said.
Pillay said local hops farms in the George area are a source of pride. They have generated about 1 500 jobs in the Southern Cape, and an annual revenue of R90 million.
What agritourism means
Founder of Rural Tourism Africa and Regenerative Agritourism Africa, Jacqui Taylor said agritourism is playing a critical role in diversity and the ability for a farm to be experienced differently.
“Agritourism broadly incorporates unique tourist activities on a working farm that are linked to the farm’s activities and attractions. These activities can include harvesting crops, using agricultural implements, and tasting and buying farm produce.
“Farm resources can also be used for recreational entertainment and visitor attractions such as game viewing, birding, biking, hiking, fishing and farm stays. Day visits on working farms, such as wine warms, are also included as a form of agritourism,” she said.
Taylor said although there is a lack of education especially on indigenous food awareness campaigns needed to be made on the importance and benefits of agritourism.
“In Italy, where the concept first originated, agritourism was identified by the Italian government as a method of alleviating rural decay and migration to cities. Agritourism is a diversification strategy to create employment opportunities in rural areas where farming predominates,” she said.
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