Kelowna, British Columbia – The British Columbia Wine Institute received funding for its Wine and Culinary Tourism (WCT) strategy this week with the announcement of recipients of Destination British Columbia’s Co-op Marketing Partnerships Program, developed to support communities and key provincial tourism sectors in leveraging funding to maximize marketing impact and drive tourism revenues in BC.
For 25 years, the BCWI has played a pivotal role in taking BC’s Wine Industry from a mere vision to an internationally recognized region producing premium wines and providing exceptional wine tourism experiences. “We are honoured to continue to be recognized as the BC Wine Industry’s lead voice as we look ahead at continuing to grow BC’s vibrant wine and food culture, giving visitors more opportunities to discover our pristine region and developing our premium industry into a world-renowned wine and culinary tourism destination,” noted Miles Prodan, CEO and President of the BC Wine Institute.
Last year BC experienced record high numbers in visitors and wine sales, with a 7.9% increase in international visitors including a 9.6% increase in USA visitors over 2014, according to Statistics Canada. Direct from winery sales have increased significantly over the past three years with 2015 up 17.8% over 2014. There are multiple factors affecting this growth including increased supply of product, number of wineries and of course more tourists choosing to wine tour as part of their vacation.
“Destination BC’s corporate strategy is designed to encourage collaboration and innovation at the community and sector level,” said Marsha Walden, President and CEO of Destination BC. “With the development of this new program, based on consultation with industry stakeholders across the province, we are able to expand the reach of BC’s dynamic tourism brand and support new marketing initiatives, which will ultimately encourage visitation to our province.”
The WCT strategy was developed to support all wine producing regions in the province and the local culinary offerings in these areas. Distinct strategies and tactics will be used to promote the various regions and the WCT sector including the development and distribution of content to inspire BC, Alberta and Washington travelers to visit BC’s wine country enjoying the wine and culinary offerings our province has to offer.
BC Wine Institute Marketing Director Maggie Anderson says one of the key differentiating factors between BC and our closest competing wine region, Washington State with more than 800 wineries of their own, is the culinary experience that BC offers both in the winery and surrounding the wine regions. “Washington wineries are not able to have on-site restaurants, so this is definitely something we can use to our advantage.”
There are 43 winery restaurants open in BC offering fresh, local cuisine to go with their wine experiences. Old Vines Restaurant at Quails’ Gate Winery, The Terrace at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery and Miradoro Restaurant at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards have all recently been named among the top winery restaurants internationally. “We have great terroir for growing our own agriproducts, chefs from all over the world are moving to BC wine country to be a part of this flourishing industry,” noted Anderson.
For more information on BC Wine and Culinary Tourism and events visit WineBC.com.
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