Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
ZIMBABWE’S hoteliers have been invited to participate at the grand wine tasting festival in Cape Town, South Africa.
Wine tourism is fast emerging as a pull factor in many destinations and key tourism markets have identified food and wine as deciding factors in picking a holiday destination.
Tourism experts believe travellers select holiday destinations based on type and availability of wine as one of the deciding factors, as wine is one of the sophisticated beverages well sought after by tourists.
Wines of South Africa (WoSA) is running the Sommelier Cup Qualifier where 11 countries namely Canada, China, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Netherlands, Sweden, UK, USA and Zimbabwe will compete.
The competition involves tasting of varieties of wine and will start with qualifiers in individual countries.
The Zimbabwe Sommelier Cup Qualifier will be held at Victoria Falls Hotel on May 17. Eighteen participants have registered so far with registration deadline set for May 6.
WoSA Zimbabwean agent Ms Kuda Hove said the Sommelier Cup is likely to attract more visitors to Victoria Falls.
“Wines of South Africa (WoSA) continue relations with Zimbabwe and the resort town of Victoria Falls and the local hoteliers have to have a greater understanding of how wine works in the sector as a value addition.
“WoSA is running the fourth edition of the Sommelier Cup competition and Zimbabwe along with a selected number of countries will be competing for the ultimate honour set to be a life changing experience for the successful contender,” said Ms Hove.
She said preliminary rounds in individual countries will end in August while the final to be held in Cape Town will take place from 19–26 September.
Country representatives will be hosted in South Africa and tour the winelands.
They will visit some of Cape Town’s most prestigious wineries for wine tasting where they will mix and mingle with some of South Africa’s best wine tasters.
South Africa is not participating for fairness in the competition since it is home to the best wines.
Participants are drawn from key players in the tourism and hospitality industry.
WoSA represents over 500 wine producers in South Africa who export about 20 million litres into the world.
Traditional markets include the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, United States, Canada, China, Japan and some African countries.
Victoria Falls hosted the first ever wine festival last year where it was revealed that Zimbabwe imports about 1,5 million litres of wine annually from South Africa.