The First Wine Tourism Conference to be directed towards wine tourism professionals from through North America and beyond wrapped up with a sold-out total of 205 registered participants. Attendees gave it a resounding vote of success at the final wrapup session, in which the group called for an annual conference and made suggestions for next year.
Attendees came from 25 states, British Columbia, and as far away as South Africa, Spain, and the U.K. Heavily represented among the group were winery marketing and hospitality professionals, wine and tourism associations, and wine tour companies. Also well represented were wine-related service businesses, hotels, and the press.
The leadoff speaker was Caroline Beteta, President and Chief Executive Officer of the industry-led California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC). Mrs. Beteta presented a very convincing outline of California’s tourism promotion efforts and her talk well received by the audience. For a full analysis of the conference, see Paul Franson’s article in Wines & Vines.
In comments received during the final session and in a post-conference survey, the general theme was the conference was extremely useful and should be repeated on an annual basis. As one participant wrote, “For a first year effort, it was very impressive. Well organized, good agenda, well attended, impressive geographic diversity. Exceeded my expectations.”
A number of suggestions were made to make the content even more appealing for 2012, including:
- An organized networking session
- Breakout tracks for various wine tourism groups
- Networking lunches, longer breaks, and more coffee!
As organizers of the conference, we very keenly pay attention to all comments and will work hard to make changes to make 2012 even better. We hope to announce the 2012 location and date by the end of the year. Thank you to all who attended!