Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Analysis of the Tourist Profile on the Sherry Wine Route, Spain

Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Analysis of the Tourist Profile on the Sherry Wine Route, Spain

Article excerpt

Introduction

The tourists' desire of new experiences has led to the creation of new products and the development and/or consolidation of destinations to satisfy that demand. With this in mind, the development of regional gastronomy and wine is being promoted as part of the cultural heritage of geographical areas (Brunori & Rossi, 2001). Wine and tourism (together with the local cuisine) appear to be a perfect symbiosis for visitors to appreciate a different product, promoting the economic development of the wine regions, through both sales of wine at the wineries and new business opportunities related to food supply.

Recent studies about wine tourism (Alebaki & Iakovidou, 2010; Alonso & Liu, 2011) suggest and promote the idea that food and wine can be, and actually are, already the main reason for visiting a region and not necessarily a second (or additional) travel activity (Szivas, 1999). In this regard, wine tourism is undergoing an important development in different parts of the world, including Europe, enabling geographic areas until now outside the traditional tourist flows to structure a visit to the wineries as a motivating element to create and/or revitalize a specific touristic destination.

The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the research in the field of wine tourism in Europe, specifically in one of its most important wine areas, taking into account an economic point of view as well as the tradition that exists within the Sherry region (Spain), through a study that sheds light on the profile and motivation of tourists visiting the wineries of this denomination of origin. To achieve this objective, this paper is divided, after this introduction, into five sections: (i) a brief review of the scientific literature in this field; (ii) wine tourism in Europe and particularly in Spain; (iii) the character of the geographical area under investigation; (iv) the research methodology; (v) the results of the investigation. This paper ends with a section of conclusions and bibliographic references.

Background

The genesis of the research in the field of wine tourism dates back to the mid-nineties of the last century, and is mainly located in Australia and New Zealand. Thus, wine tourism, according to Hall et al. (2000), consists of visiting vineyards, learning about wineries, and attending wine festivals and wine tasting events. Getz (2000) believes that the concept of wine tourism can be considered from three perspectives: first, analysis of consumers' motivation for undertaking the trip and their buying behavior; second, the study of the winery business and its impact, both on its sales and product distribution; and third, the socio-economic development that may occur in the region as a result of the relationship between tourism and wine.

Wine tourism demand analysis has been the subject of several investigations (including, Charters & Ali-Knight, 2002; Getz & Brown, 2006; Dawson et al., 2011; Sampaio, 2012). These seek to define the profile of wine tourists who visit a winery and their motivation. The analysis, thus, aims to identify tourists' typologies that can help define more clearly what tourists are looking for in order to adjust the offer to these characteristics. In this regard, aspects such as the sociodemographic characteristics of the interviewees (age, gender, nationality, income, etc.), the number of days spent in the area, the total travel budget, or how they found out about this geographical area (through friends or agencies, etc.) are key to better understanding of tourists. Also of interest are tourists' main reasons to visit wineries (learning more about the process of wine making or buying the product), their buying behaviour in the winery or the level of satisfaction with the trip. In addition, certain investigations deepen the analysis of tourist demand based on the variation of tourist profiles. Thus we find differentiation based on whether it is the first visit or a repeat visit (Bruwer & Alant, 2009), gender (Fraser et al. …

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