November 19, 2019

Wine and Food Tourism Conference


Bringing expertise to the Winelands in a one-day event, the Wine and Food Tourism Conference was an insightful experience. Noma Tsheleza reports.

The Wine and Food Tourism Conference was a highly entertaining and informative event. There were several passionate and knowledgeable speakers who shared their expertise with the audience. But perhaps the one who made the biggest impression was  Dion Chang.  

His talk highlighted many important factors that some businesses may ignore or regard as not crucial. Not only were the points Dion made profound, but they are crucial for the survival of any business that wants to stay relevant to the next generation of consumers, Gen Z.

Diversity is Imperative

Companies have to be diverse, and a common problem in the workforce is that many businesses talk about embracing diversity but when a closer look is taken, it is clear that they do not put action to their words.  Diversity affects and influences innovation – consumers want inclusivity, and diversity is what will attract more markets. Diversity has a huge impact on the tourism industry, and if wine makers want to stay on top of their game, they cannot afford to close the door to this. Not only should they be diverse, but businesses should develop a ‘speak-up’ culture. People should feel seen and head. This is especially important because Gen Z is a generation of outspoken whistleblowers and system changers.

Gen Z Can Change the World

An example that he used was of a seven-year-old girl who wrote a letter to McDonalds to complain about the plastic toys that they serve with their happy meals. McDonalds did not do much after this, and thereafter a seven-year-old and a nine-year-old also wrote letters complaining about the detrimental effects the plastic toys hold on the environment. This later turned into a documentary ultimately leading to the company committing to use more paper instead of plastic. If young children can cause such an impact, imagine a whole generation of like-minded peers. Gen Z is a generation of activists, and while many businesses are still looking at Millennials to be trendsetters, Gen Z should be the pinnacle of focus. 

Instagrammable Businesses

Dion mentioned that it is important that businesses are Instagrammable.  He is not for influencer culture, but he acknowledges that some companies do a training course with their influencers to ensure that they are knowledgeable.

It is important for businesses to redefine their purpose, considering brand activism and conscious tourism,” he explains. The app What3Words is an example of what kind of tourism the world is moving into.

Sidebar: The wine and food tourism awards

The wine and food tourism event held an awards ceremony on the evening of the conference – 18 September. The categories were service excellence, Authentic South African experience and Innovation. The event saw nine winners, including Waterford Estate, La Motte and Creation wines. More information can be found on www.wineandfood.co.za

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