Identify an area of niche tourism (i.e. sport tourism, adventure tourism, heritage tourism, dark tourism, ecotourism, etc.). Choose a location in which you will examine this selected area of niche tourism. Develop a scholarly discussion paper for dissemination to a stakeholder group of your choice in that location (i.e. local council/local government policy makers, tourism managers, local community group made up of neighbours of the tourism development, business group, potential investors, environmental group, etc.) in which you will examine your selected area of niche tourism. In your paper, which is to be an original presentation/your own work and with reference to the literature, you will need to analyse and discuss the following: • the features of this area of niche tourism • transport factors • the hotel and accommodation issues • risk management processes to be addressed. Your discussion paper should provide your selected stakeholder group with information which can enable it to make better informed decisions regarding development of this area of niche tourism. You are to submit your scholarly discussion paper electronically via the Turnitin drop box on the Blackboard site. Marking criteria Marking criteria will include: • features of your selected area of niche tourism • examination and discussion of transport factors • examination and discussion of hotel and accommodation issues • risk management processes to be addressed • clear structure with headings • clear, concise, grammatically correct writing • depth and relevance of your academic and other research; it is envisaged that your references will be extensive and the reference list will show use of at least 20 references • correct in-text citations and references (see School of Business & Tourism guide).
Food and wine tourism is one of the areas of niche tourism that plays a significant role in contributing to the burgeoning of the entire tourism industry in the state of Victoria, Australia (Tourism Victoria 2007). Globally, gastronomic tourism has a positive outlook in the future and food and wine in particular are the most essential products that can provide a destination such as Victoria with a competitive advantage through provision of differentiated products and services (Wray 2015). However, and the food and wine tourism grows, so are the business complexities associated with it due to increased and dynamic demand and supply (Kunc 2009). The twenty first century has seen an increase in the number of tourists demanding sophistication and specialist products, thereby, consumption of tourism products such as food and wine is considered as an expression of lifestyle, sophistication, and culture, rather than just mere necessities (Wray 2015). For the state of Victoria to reap the full benefits of gastronomic tourism, and particularly distinguish itself as the global destination of choice for unique niche characteristics in food and wine as tourism products, then the quality of tourism experience in the same has to be put on the forefront and doubled (Novelli 2005). Similarly, Victorian Food and Wine Tourism Council (VFWTC), as strategic stakeholder in the enhancement of this niche tourism in Victoria, can reap the benefits of it efforts through revamping of hotel and accommodation sub sectors, and the transportation sector since these contribute immensely and are important networks in the growth of food and wine tourism (Hume City council 2015). Since risk is an inevitable part of management in that it is always there in any sector (Santana 1999), effective risk management strategies and process needs also to be effected if Victoria is to improve its reputation and standing in terms of safety standards and crisis management to develop tourists confidence in visiting the region more often. This paper argues that stakeholders in the state of Victoria need to put more focus on food and wine as a niche tourism in this destination since it has much more potential in not just raising the profile of Victoria and the entire tourism sector, but also and importantly, in distinguishing Victoria as a unique food and wine tourist destination, attracting more tourists from all walks of life, and giving the region a competitive edge in the industry. First, the paper looks at the features of food and wine tourism as niche tourism for the region, and then discusses the transportation and hotel and accommodation factors as important partners in the growth and development of this niche tourism. Finally, the paper discusses the risks management process in this sector as a way of enhancing visitor confidence, consolidating reputation, and achieving efficiency and sustainability.
Features of Food and Wine Industry in the State of Victory
The United Nations world Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecast that global tourism is rapidly growing and by 2030, it is forecasted that tourist arrivals would hit 1.8billion (Trofimov 2015). Competitions in the tourism sector has intensified, not just locally but also internationally and for the state of Victoria distinguish itself as a travel destination of choice for both local and international tourists, then niche tourism, specifically in food and wine, is right and strategic key to strike.
Food and Wine as Niche Tourism Products
Food and wine tourism is a distinct micro niche tourism with good growth prospects ahead, not just in Victoria, globally especially in the wake of competitive tourism environment and the increased demand for sophistication by tourists (Wray 2015). Food and wine tourism is whereby tourists travel because of the appeal of both food and wineries in a destination (Thatch 2015). Wine tourism especially involves visiting hotels and restaurants for a destination’s wine, vineyards, wine festivals and variety of wineries with the intention to experience the destination’s rich wine culture and other attributes of the same (Kunc 2009). Individuals are motivated by various factors to tour wine regions, including not jus wine tasting, but also for others, the health benefits associated with wine taking (Thatch 2015). Others still find food and wine tourism appealing because of the fine art and architecture common in wineries, for romantic reasons, as part of sightseeing and ecotourism, while others visit wineries juts to taste the wine or see its preparation process (Thatch 2015). Some other features of wine tourism involve aspects of culture where travellers enjoy both the food and wine as part of a destination’s culture. Victoria’s rich multicultural community is the reason why the region is becoming a reputable food and wine destination in the country and beyond (Tourism Victoria 2015). Food and wine tourism also involves cuisines, production experiences in grape farms, cultural discovery, and fine dining (Tourism Victoria 2015). Tourists can participate in other events and festivals centred around food and wine flavours, experiencing a destination’s hotels, bars, cafes, and restaurants, and other agricultural related tourism such as grape or fruit picking in farms (Tourism Victoria 2015).
Best practices in food and wine tourism require that success in food and wine tourism involve developing wine roads, which are maps to guide tourists, wine community partnership with supporting sectors such as hotels, restaurants and transportation agencies, creation of unique wine events, and festivals, developing wine villages, matching food and wine, and even considering art and architectural design in wineries to attract even more visitors (Thatch 2015).
Prospects of Food and Wine Tourism
Food and wine play a central role jot just in enhancing a tourists experience upon visiting a place, but the current trend has seen some tourists just travel to a destination to enjoy the food and wine of the place, since these are no longer seen as part of diet or biological needs, but as a sophisticated lifestyle (Thatch 2015). Food and wine have become indispensable and distinct tourists products cable of fetching the attention of millions of tourists (Trofimov 2015). Food and wine tourism has steadily rising in the recent past, and more than ever, tourists are willing to part with millions of shillings to experience fine food and wine. For example, in the year 2014, food and wine statistics in Australia indicates that Australia received 5.4 million international tourists and 47.9 million for food and wine, overnight (WFA, 2015). Out of these, an estimated 1.8 million international tourists and 12.0 million domestic tourists visited Victoria as food and wine tourists (WFA, 2015). Given this trend, stakeholders in the region, particularly VFWTC need to focus more on this niche tourism to bring new dimensions of tourist excitement, survive the turbulent and competitive tourism environment and place the state of Victoria as a leading food and wine destination of choice.
The Role of Transportation in Food and Wine Tourism
Tourism, including food and wine tourism and transportation are inherently related, and transportation is one of the strategic developments stimulating growth in the entire tourism sector. International transport development therefore plays a pivotal role in the growth of tourism globally, including in Victoria (Sorupia 2005). Regardless of the forms of transports, be it air, rail, road, or sea transport, they are all essential in acting as bridge between the tourist generating regions and the tourists destinations ( Douglas, Che, and Dowel, 2015). The more transport network is developed, the more a region is opened up for tourism potential and experience because of increased accessibility (Prideaux 2000). In the absence of transport, then all the attractions in a region and other amenities become insignificant (Prideaux 2000). The twenty first century has seen an advancement in the transport system in all modes of transportation including luxury coaches, taxi, airbus carriers, ships, boats, trains just to mention (Prideaux 2000). For any destination, the state of Victoria included, to increase the number of visitors and repeat visitors, modern, reliable and efficient means of transport must be available to ferry tourists from the airport to various destinations locally (Prideaux 2000). To increase a regions attractiveness, all means of transport should be available especially those that enhance a tourists experience such as tangas, trams, ropeways, trolleys just to mention add on to the tourist excitement (Prideaux 2000).
Development of Modern Means of Transportation
For destinations such as Victoria to increase their competitiveness in terms of international tourist arrivals, then their accessibility especially for international tourists is crucial (Giaoutzi & Nijkamp 2006). Developments in modern means of transport has seen a dramatic increase in tourism and tourism experience especially with the emergence of alternative means of transportation. Tourism planning is not complete without including a plan for transportation thus the quality of infrastructural development has to match tourists demand. Stakeholders in this niche tourism have to be aware of the impact that transportation and transport network bear of the number of visitors a destination receives (Giaoutzi & Nijkamp 2006). The current trend, aided with the development of modern means of transportation, and the need to increase tourism experience has seen a dramatic shift to alternative means of transportation that are more economical, safer, reliable, and provide enhanced experience during the travel (Giaoutzi & Nijkamp 2006). Airports in particular and aircrafts have become an essential part of tourism development because almost 90% of all international arrivals to a destination are by air. This has led to the emergence of airport cities where urban centre emerge around an airport as opposed to previously when airports were away from the cities. Other alternative means of transportations such low cost airlines have increased the number of tourist who can travel to a destination hence increased demand for tourism products such as food and wine of a destination (Sorupia 2005). Other means such as trains are gaining popularity not just because of their cost effective nature, but also because they are capable of providing tourism with an experience of a destination as they travel. It is therefore important that stakeholder in the state of Victoria put in mind the impact that transportation has on the number of tourists visiting a place and increase investments in modern and alternative means of transportation. While food and wine tourism is gaining popularity, increased investment in the regions transport network will see this type of tourism flourish to significant levels to place Victoria as a leading food and wine tourist destination.
The degree and quality of cooperation between the transportation sector and tourism is thus determinant of the sustainability of food and wine tourism (Sorupia 2005). It is important to note that the current tourists does not just see the means of transportations to a destination and around a destination as mere means, but rather transportation has come to mean a lot and is part of the whole tourism experience (Douglas et al 2015). To strengthen the position of food and wine industry, and especially to attract more visitors and become a globally recognized food and wine destination, the state of Victoria, especially stakeholders in the region, need to partner in revamping the region’s transportation network to enhance tourist experience give them an extra reason for repeat visitation (Kunc 2008). The state of Victoria has wineries amount to 350 spread across the region and accessible using various means of transportation (Sparks, Deery, Roberts, Davis, Brown & Malady 2007). Some of the wine growing regions in Victoria include Macedon ranges, the Yarra, King, Murray, and Goulburn valleys just to mention (Sparks et al 2007). Making the region’s wine production areas, wineries, and food places more accessible through development of local and international transport network is therefore essential if the food and wine market is to flourish (Sparks et al 2007).
The Role of Hotel and Accommodation
Apart from transportation, accommodation and hotels as a subsector also plays a pivotal role in the tourism industry, and therefore, for Victoria’s food and wine sector to excel, and strategic partnering with this sector is just as essential. Hotel, accommodation services, and restaurants in particular can provide wide ranging services related to food and wineries and thus provide the state of Victoria with the recognition and reputation it deserves in marketing its food and wine for tourists both locally and internationally (Tourism Victoria 2007). The increased sophistication of tourists visiting destinations and changes in the hotel and accommodation industry has implications for a destination, if it is to attract even more visitors (Mason and O’Mahony 2007). Currently most tourist destinations are experiencing an upsurge of tourists, Australia inclusive, and majority of these are especially from Asia, specifically China (Giaoutzi and Nijkamp 2006). Naturally, this implies that the demand for hotels and accommodations services increase with the increasing tourist arrival and a destination’s ability to match this demand with quality supply of hotels and accommodation services is essential (Johnpaul 2015). A tourist travel requirement, especially international tourists inevitably requires accommodation arrangements (WFA 2015). When it comes to food and wine tourism, hotels play an important role in marketing a destination’s tourist products since most would provide these products for the visitors. Accommodation on the other hand is one of the largest sub sectors that provide strategic support to the entire tourism industry including food and wine tourism (Johnpaul 2015). Accommodations with excellent services, especially the trending features in modern time hotel and accommodation sector is indeed better placed to enhance the experience of tourists travelling for a destination’s food and wine (Johnpaul 2015). The food and wine served in hotels is therefore essential for food and wine tourism since it assists in branding a destination’s niche tourism. A partnership of purpose between players in the wine and food industries and those in the hotel and accommodation sector is therefore a prerequisite for emergence of a region’s niche tourism and the marketing of its tourists’ products (Johnpaul 2015). To gain a competitive edge, a destination’s hotel and accommodation sector matters since these are inevitable requirements of especially of international tourists. Keeping abreast with the trending services and facilities in the sectors is necessary as more and more tourists demand affordable luxury, with a lasting experience. For example, tourists are increasingly developing a preference for hotel and accommodation facilities that provide unique and prestigious services and that provide value for their money (Giaoutzi and Nijkamp 2006). It is common in the twenty first century to see hotels going high tech such as online booking, increased presence in the social media, use of mobile applications and other technology based marketing strategies including strategic partnership. For the food and wine players in Victoria, it is essential to note that the trending and contemporary hotels have a specific focus including food and wine which is good for the industry. The mushrooming of budget hotels across Victoria is also a positive move towards attracting more tourists in the region to experience the region’s tourism products (Giaoutzi and Nijkamp 2006). The expanding popularity of Victoria’s food and wine tourism thus implies that the destination has to revamp its hotel and accommodation services, while paying attention to contemporary and trending services and facilities which are increasingly getting demanded by tourists (Giaoutzi and Nijkamp 2006). The application of technology, creation of cultural hotels, food and wine hotels, and setting up of more resorts is highly essential in boosting Victoria’s tourism industry as a whole, including the marketing of its wineries and food (Johnpaul 2015). There is also the need to focus on the Chinese market since its growing at a pace that needs attention in the hotel and accommodation sector to meet this rising demand, which is generally profitable for the region’s tourism.
Risk management Processes in Food and Wine Tourism
The tourism industry, just likely any other industry is not without risks and uncertainties that may threaten the sector’s sustainability and tourisms experience, safety, health and general well being. Gastronomy, or food and wine tourism in particular is a sensitive one and risk management process contributes in a big way in enhancing visitors’ experience. According to (Deery, Barry, O’Mahony & Moors 2012), risk is the one thing that is ever present in any industry and since it cannot be a hundred percent eliminated, the key thing to do is effective management of risks, especially those inherent in a particular sector. Various types of risks exists in the food and wine segment of tourism, some of which are inherent in the sector, while still others may be classified as undesirable, actual, or merely perceived (lecture notes). Regardless of the types of risk, an effective risk management process is essential in not just protecting tourists and minimizing liability, but also in marketing a destination as reputable in terms of quality and safety records (Deery et al 2012). As mentioned earlier, food and wine are increasingly becoming an essential part of tourist experience since this king of eating and drinking is not meant for survival, but rather for purposes of cultural discovery among other reasons (WFA 2015). Since it involves consumption, this business has its own risks, and therefore key players have to adhere to several ethical standards, safety procedures in food and wine production, and comply with relevant policies and statutory requirements (Hall 2005). Some of the risks inherent in wine and tourism include the turbulent economic environment which may expose the sector into risks such as rising prices of food products, interest rates and increased competition, which is a type of desirable risk (Hall 2005). Those operating vineyards and food production also may face certain types of risks such as diseases attacking the vineyards and food poisoning respectively (Hall 2005). Food safety risks, if well handled, will reduce the probability of tourist becoming ill after consumption of a destination’s food and this will build confidence in the destination’s food (Hall 2005). Food standards thus have to be strictly adhered to when preparing foods in hotels and restaurants, or any other food joint for that matter. Risks are therefore not new in food and wine tourism, and for Vitoria to up its reputation for safety and build tourists confidence in its products, a risk management process would be necessary (Roberts and Deery 2008). Since risk is the probability of a disaster or anything harmful taking place risk management aims at reducing the vulnerabilities and possibilities that may lead to occurrence of risks (Roberts and Deery 2008). In the food and wine tourism, risk management involves risk identification and using standard supervisory procedures at every stage of food and wine production to reduces incidences of negligence that may put customers at risks (Roberts and Deery 2008). All the facilities used for food and wine have to be checked to ensure that they do not pose any harm to customers.
As unpleasant as it may be, tourism is highly susceptible to certain crisis and risks, bth manmade and natural, and it is the duty of the management to ensure that at all time it prepares in advance (Duarte Alonso and Liu 2010). all stakeholders have to be involved since when a crisis strikes, virtually all stakeholders are affected (Duarte Alonso and Liu 2010). Comprehensive efforts thus have to be put in place in managing risks and crisis such as risk waiver, appropriate training and supervision, stakeholder involvement, and organizational learning about crisis. This may make it easier to recover after a risk or crisis has occurred.
In conclusion, food and wine tourism is a niche tourism with a good prospects of growth and so the state of Victoria can capitalize in this rather unexplored area of tourism. With the multicultural community in the region and a love for visitors, coupled with the latest statistics on the growth of number of food and wine tourism, Victoria has the potential to be a leading food and wine tourist destination in the region, stakeholders, especially VFWTC has to play an advisory and a leading role in partnering with other relevant sectors such as transportation and hotel and accommodation sectors so as to enhance tourists experience in the region. These two sub sectors of tourism play a pivotal role in providing the much needed market for Victoria’s food and wine as tourist products (xxx). Since it is ever present in any sector, the wine and tourism sector in Victoria has to adopt effective risk management process and comply with legislative requirements to minimize liability and impacts of risks. This way, the region will grow into a reputable food and wine destination and distinguish itself from other regions in the wake of increased competition.
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