Wine tourism development in emerging Western Australian regions
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
Purpose: The remarkable growth of wine tourism in recent decades has created opportunities for rural communities to diversify and stimulate development, and for travellers to enjoy an activity that brings together educational and gastronomic experiences. However, still today many areas around the globe with the potential to become quality wine tourism destinations have been ignored in contemporary research. This paper aims to examine winery operators' involvement with wine tourism, and current challenges they face in several emerging Western Australian wine regions.Design/methodology/approach: Semi‐structured face‐to‐face and telephone interviews were used to collect data among 42 participating winery operators. Findings: Respondents acknowledge the great potential for the development of wine tourism and many foresee their own future involvement in hospitality and tourism. However, the fragmented nature of the wine industry in some of the areas studied, financial limitations and geographical distance from large cities or tourist traffic are current barriers limiting further development.Research limitations/implications: With over 300 wineries in Western Australia the number of participating businesses in the study may not substantiate making generalisations of Western Australia's wineries or those of other wine regions. However, the findings of this preliminary study do provide information about efforts and challenges related to “new” wine regions in Western Australia. Practical implications: The existing potential to develop wine tourism in emerging wine regions may in the long term attract quality wine tourists seeking authenticity and uniqueness, the very same elements on which these regions seem to rely. However, to achieve these goals, current barriers need to be addressed by all parties involved: wineries, local tourism bodies and local/state authorities. Originality/value: The study constitutes an effort to extend the very limited existing knowledge on newly developing wine regions in Western Australia.