They are Italians, between 30 and 50 years old (seven out of ten are under 50), and passionate about Internet. They plan their holiday on Internet, travel in couples or groups, and they look for an offer that puts culture, sport, nature and wellbeing together with good wine. They visit cellars all over the year, not in summer only, and they spend there around 100 Euros. This is the identikit of the typical wine-tourists made by the CST-Movimento Turismo Vino Association by studying the cellars of the same association and presented in the last International Conference on wine-tourism held in Perugia.
The wine-tourist prefers to organize the holiday without any travel agency: according to the 66.3% of producers, two customers out of three plan their itinerary and their cellar visiting by themselves on Internet, without using tour operators. This is true with the exception of the South of Italy where people still prefer to use travel agencies. Most of wine-tourists decide to visit a cellar by consulting their website: Internet advertisement is the most effective form of communication in this field. Moreover, over the 50% of producers say that Internet is the best tool for registering customers and contacting them again after the visit.
According to Chiara Lungarotti, head of the movimento Turismo Vino,”web advertisement, together with word-of-mouth, is what determines the success of tourism in wine making regions. Traditional communications and media are pretty ineffective at this regard. The research performed on the cellar of our Associations clearly shows the role of Internet, and blogs in particular, on this market: according to the 66.3% of producers, two customers out of three choose their itinerary on the web”. This data demonstrate the difference between wine-tourism and normal tourism, where the 10.6% only of travelers uses Internet for planning holidays (data from 2010, Osservatorio Nazionale del Turismo).
Moreover, this situation is probably going to be even more extreme in the future, given that this percentage doubled in the last year (from 5.3% in 2009 to 10.6% in 2010). This is probably due to the fact that Internet is one of the most trusted sources of information about travel destinations, just after past experience and word-of-mouth (as from the study Isnat on the travel habits of Italians in the first six months of 2011). This relatively recent aspect of communication is of pivotal importance for tourism, as stressed by the Italian Minister of Tourism, Pietro Gnudi, that declared: “Merging the local and the global dimensions by exploiting the possibilities of Internet, is a necessary strategy for the tourism of our Country; Italy has the opportunity to impose its role in this area of business, as well”.
Hence, let’s concentrate of WebPages and social media, like Facebook and Twitter, viral communication on the Network, user generated contents, Smartphone and tablet apps and augmented reality: these, together with the quality of wine, are the new tools to attract wine-tourists.