Time for travel agents to do business differently?

Tour operators and travel agents get ready for some fresh thinking! Chris Torres author and Brand & Digital Tourism expert with over 26 years’ industry knowledge, speaker at IWINETC 2020, will be offering his advice and guidance on how travel, tourism and destination businesses can gain brand recognition and increase bookings.

In your upcoming talk at IWINETC 2020 you will show us how to produce 90 + days of content ideas from one piece of video marketing. Can you gives us a couple of examples for the wine and culinary tourism industry?

Food and wine tourism businesses have it easier than most when it comes to producing video content, or any content for that matter. You can produce video content around wine tasting, food pairings, wineries, grape varieties and a whole host of other topics to consider.

Say you create a video on wine tasting, talking about 2-3 wines in every video, producing this once per week. That video can also be turned into. A written blog, an audio podcast, short 60 second videos for some social channels… before you know it, that one video have been repurposed for many other channels, giving you more reach and brand awareness.

You talk of staff and customers generating content for the wine tourism player be it a tour operator or a winery. Can you define what you mean by that?

For me, the best story tellers should be your tour guides and those in your business who have a passion for wine and the process of making wine. Utilise the skills you have to generate content around their strengths.

Tour guides are the ones who take customers around your wineries, talking to them, inspiring them and hopefully persuading them to buy a bottle or two. Who else would be best to front a video series or an audio podcast?

In the age of internet and DIY tourism can you give us a few tips on how tour operators and travel agents can remain relevant?

I am going to say something that may shock you… but don’t run a tourism business. To survive in todays marketing landscape you must become a media company, one that just happens to sell tours.

By media, I mean articles, guides, videos, and anything else that adds value to people researching travel or just looking to be entertained. It’s not enough to have expert product knowledge in your T&A niche if your potential customers don’t know about it.

Becoming a ‘media company’ involves putting out meaningful content about your niche to drive traffic to your website or your off-site booking channels.

Making content takes time and money, but it’s the only way to make yourself visible online, and to — ultimately — make yourself more visible than your competitors.

Creating video content for example does not need to be highly polished. Film on an iPhone or a GoPro… just be truthful to yourself and you will humanise your brand, making it more appealing to travellers.

You mention storytelling to humanise a brand. Can you define that with a couple of examples?

The best way to sell a product is not to sell it but to build up why it is the best product on the market. The best way to do this is through people. People buy from people so become your own influencer within your sector. Become an authority within your niche market and this will help you create a stronger business I noted long run.

Coronavirus: Life after lockdown. How do you think the wine and culinary tourism industry might change after lockdown?

This is such big question. Personally I feel the later part of 2020, and only if this passes quickly, will be strong with the staycation market. People will have less money, be nervous with international travel, so local tourism should be the main focus.

I also believe the 2021 will be a boom year for travel as travellers will be fed up  being stuck at home or in their destinations for so long they will want to experience a new location so producing content now, to inspire them while stuck at home, is the prime time to plant that seed.

Meet Chris at IWINETC 2020 where he will be delivering a talk titled: How to Easily Generate 90+ days of Content to Promote your Tour business

Time to take winery staff training seriously

Felicity Carter, editor-in-chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International, the world’s only global, English language wine business magazine tells us about the importance of staff training in the wine tourism industry. She also gives a few pointers on press trip organisation and management.

Better staff training…can you clarify this for us?

One thing that successful wineries have in common is they train staff thoroughly. This isn’t just a matter of teaching staff to serve better, but also to be able to understand who the customer is who is standing in front of them. Far too many tour operators and cellar door staff have a script they adhere to, that either treats everyone as a complete beginner – which can be insulting for some customers – or which relies on stereotypes, such as automatically offering women sweeter, cheaper wines, when they might be serious connoisseurs.

Staff also need to understand the wine they’re working with – even the back end and administrative staff. There needs to be a culture of wine and hospitality inside the whole organisation. Staff not only need to know about their particular product, but also how the wine fits into a regional and international context.

For example, if an Australian winery is serving Shiraz to international tourists, it’s important they understand what other styles of Syrah/Shiraz that tourist has been exposed to, so they can explain how their local style differs from that of the Rhone Valley, for example.

The reason it’s important that all staff learn about wine, is because it can turn them into advocates for the brand or region. If they have a good understanding of wine, and it becomes part of their own life, they will talk about it in their own time, to their own friends and relatives. They will have even more pride in the place where they work, and that also communicates itself.

Who trains? It may be the case that the winery management are not very good pedagogically speaking and therefore poor at training themselves. That being the case should the winery employ an external trainer?

Not investing in staff training and professional development is a key weakness of many European and some New World wine businesses. Any staff who are involved in any type of sales, including at the cellar door, should absolutely have professional sales training; customer and hospitality staff need professional training as well.

It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but proper training will pay off again and again. Sometimes people worry that sales training will turn staff into aggressive salespeople, but it’s not the case – good training will help staff understand when to continue the conversation and when to back off.

As for wine training, there is no better place to start than the WSET.

At IWINETC 2029 in Spain’s Basque country you talked about media in wine tourism and highlighted Google as the big player. Would you say Google Travel is having or will have any impact on wine tourism businesses worldwide?

Any business, whether wine or travel, needs to understand Google search, because this is how tourists will find them. Every website needs to be SEO and search optimised, so it rises as high as possible on Google rankings.

We often hear about a wine region’s tourist board organising a press trip for journalists, writers, bloggers….Can you give a few tips from a journalist point of view about what to do and what not to do for tourist boards organising and running a press trip?

The most important thing is not to overfill the day. There are some press trips that start early in the morning and go to late at night, and then do it all again the next day. Professional communicators need time to go over their notes and start composing stories. If the pace is relentless, everything just blurs together.

The other thing to watch is over-feeding. Nobody needs to have a gourmet lunch and then a five-course dinner. Days of over-feeding leads to everyone feeling sick and sluggish, particularly if there is long bus travel involved.

You talk of TikTok as the next big thing in media. Can you expand on this statement?

TikTok is mostly used by a very young audience, meaning it’s not a suitable platform for companies involved in alcohol. However, TikTok has been a game changer for online communications, pushing people to do clever, funny things in just 15 seconds. People love the format – if you can make a quick film highlighting one funny, warm or cute moment, do it. It’s much more likely to get traction than the usual expensive, glossy tourist video where the drone zooms across the beautiful landscape and… well, you know what happens next. We’ve all seen those productions and they’re boring. Fifteen seconds of fun beats them all hands down.

Meet Felicity at IWINETC 2020. Felicity will be delivering a talk titled Turn your staff into your best advocates.

Inspiration from IWINETC speakers

These are unprecedented times in the wine and culinary tourism industry, and the world as a whole. More than ever, it’s important to keep busy and get ready for brighter times, so we’d like to point you to a few of the IWINETC speakers from past events and their speaker notes which we believe will be useful for people and businesses in the wine and food travel industry.

Access our selection of speaker notes from industry speakers and professionals to find information and inspiration:


The importance of Media in Wine Tourism or How to be Famous in Travel Media delivered by Felicity Carter IWINETC Basque Country, Spain 2019

Leveraging Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for Wine Tourism delivered by Judith Lewis IWINETC Basque Country, Spain 2019

Getting Seriously Social delivered by Judith Lewis IWINETC Hungary 2018

Integrate or Die delivered by Judith Lewis IWINETC Hungary 2018

Branding in the 21st Century: A Legal Perspective>> delivered by Evon Spangler and Perry M. de Stefano IWINETC Hungary 2018

SEO Master Class for the Wine Tourism Industry Part 1 delivered by Judith Lewis IWINETC Barcelona, Spain 2016

SEO Master Class for the Wine Tourism Industry Part 2 delivered by Judith Lewis Barcelona, Spain 2016

Bringing Visitors Back: Lessons Learned From Natural Disasters by Paul Wilke IWINETC Champagne, France 2015

IWINETC 2020 will take place 27 & 28 October 2020.

Due to the rapid spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and the increase in air travel restriction to and from Italy, Lucio Gomiero Legale Rappresentante e Direttore General and on behalf of the PromoTurismoFVG has stated that PromoTurismoFVG are not able to maintain the scheduled dates for IWINETC 2020 and have also stated that in their opinion IWINETC be postponed. The IWINETC Management had for weeks made it known that a decision on holding or cancelling IWINETC would only be taken based on the recommendations or instructions of PromoturismoFVG. Only they possess the necessary information and specialist knowledge in order to draw the right conclusions.

New dates for IWINETC 2020 are 27 and 28 October.

Amidst Friuli Venezia Giulia’s Nature

The region in which the International Wine Tourism Conference 2020 takes place, Friuli Venezia Giulia, will show you what it’s really like to be in protected and unpolluted surroundings. There’s not just one, but many places where time seems to have stood still: parks, lagoons, nature reserves, mountains where silence reigns. If you long to be totally immersed in nature, then Friuli Venezia Giulia is the ideal place for you.

The perfect peaks reaching skyward from the Friulian Dolomites and the Julian and Carnic Alps form the ideal frame for the lush green valleys. Acting as the region’s natural frontiers, the Alpine chains preserve pearls of rare beauty, such as Sauris, a symbol of the excellent food (Proscuitto Sauris) and wines of Friuli, or the Resia Valley, where the language and traditions of an ancient Slavic race have survived in an unspoilt environment since the 7th century. Or the Tarvisio area, where three natural and cultural borders meet and enclose startling summits that climbers from all over Europe long to conquer.

But if you descend from the mountains to the sea you will discover the Grado and Marano Lagoons. Friuli Venezia Giulia offers 3 Natural parks, as well as about twenty biotypes and 13 nature reserves. From a rushing, tumbling mountain stream to the unhurried thrill of a climb, there’s always a new emotion to stir you. There are many walking trails you can take to truly experience nature’s beauty, some popular trails include; Friulian Dolomites Circular Trail, 4 stages for 4 mountain huts, a trekking route to complete against the splendid backdrop of the Regional Friulian Dolomites Natural Park. Another route is the Alpin way, the yellow trail that starts from Trieste, crosses the Karst, the Carnic and the Julian Alps before finally reaching the German Alps. If not, you can try the Alta Via Forni di Sopra, five days’ trekking between mountain and refuge huts immersed in the wilderness of Forni di Sopra’s wide valley.

Alternatively, you can take one of the many biking routes that range from the coast to the mountains. Also keep an eye out for birds, seeing as the region has 320 different species of birds, a birdwatcher’s paradise! Therefore, if you’re a nature lover who enjoys hiking along the mountains, plains or coast and of course great food and wine – then Friuli Venezia Giulia is the place to go!

Article: Jethro Swift

The IWINETC 2020 two day conference and one day B2B Workshop will take place from 24 – 26 March at Stazione Marittima Conference Hall, Molo Bersaglieri 3 – 34124 Trieste Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) and is supported by PromoTurismoFVGRegistration open. For more information, visit: www.iwinetc.com

Secret Friuli Venezia Guilia

Exploring Friuli Venezia Guilia’s hidden corners in search of the best the countryside has to offer.

The breath-taking countryside that surrounds the venue for the International Wine Tourism Conference 2020 of Friuli Venezia Giulia gives you the chance to explore some of the most beautiful small towns in Italy. Boasting treasures of great historical and cultural importance. There is a whole world to be explored, one filled with food and wine tours, old crafts that have never faded, rural and medieval hamlets, castles and ancient mills.

Throughout the countryside, the region has a special kind of hospitality. A wide range of alternative accommodation are available to dive into authentic rural life. This includes the “Albergo Diffuso” – an innovative concept of accommodation developed in Friuli Venezia Giulia – that combines the service of a hotel with the freedom of a holiday apartment. Typically staying in ancient houses in villages which have been restored, decorated and equipped in the typical mountain tradition.

You can discover the 12 “Most beautiful Italian villages” in the countryside of Friuli Venezia Giulia. One of them is Sappada, which is a German-speaking linguistic island and a place where ancient traditions and architecture have remained over time.

Scattered throughout the countryside you can find medieval castles, including the land of castles in the Friuli hills, stepped in history and ancient manors. Castle Ragogna, which hosts Scriptorium Foroiuliense – one of the few schools teaching ancient art of calligraphy in Italy.

Of course, the wonders of the region’s countryside can be witnessed along the new Friuli Venezia Giulia Wine and Food Route. A single road connecting the coast to the mountains, networking the region’s agri-food and wine-growing resources, together with cultural and environmental ones. There are many private houses of winemakers, where you can taste typical, local, home-grown dishes at certain times of the year whilst being surrounded by absolutely breath-taking views of the countryside.

Geographically, the region is rich and diverse in land, from the tall-mountainous region of the Alps to the vast plateau that lead toward an outstanding coastline that borders the southern area of Friuli Venezia Giulia. This hidden geographical treasure will amaze everyone due to its many different landscapes, intertwining cultures, and ancient traditions. This is all enriched by the number of historical homes, manors, villas, castles and ancient villages that are located throughout. Friuli Venezia Giulia truly a site to be seen! IWINETC 2020 in Trieste not to be missed!

Article: Jethro Swift

The IWINETC 2020 two day conference and one day B2B Workshop will take place from 24 – 26 March at Stazione Marittima Conference Hall, Molo Bersaglieri 3 – 34124 Trieste Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) and is supported by PromoTurismoFVGRegistration open. For more information, visit: www.iwinetc.com

Aspettando IWINETC

PromotorismoFVG, Agency of the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) for Tourism, has undertaken to organise a one day education programme for FVG stakeholders titled Aspettando IWINETC (Getting ready for IWINETC) – a taster for the International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC) coming up in March 2020 taking place in the delightful city of Trieste. Aspettando IWINETC will take place at the Villa Dragoni in Via Florio, 18 a Buttrio (Udine) on 27 November 2019.

Speakers include Roberta Garibaldi, Erik Wolf, Alessandra Priante, Roberta Milano and IWINETC Director, Anthony Swift who will address a wide range of topics related to the wine and culinary tourism industry.

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Registration and programme for Aspettando IWINETC here>>

The IWINETC 2020 two day conference and one day B2B Workshop will take place from 24 – 26 March at Stazione Marittima Conference Hall, Molo Bersaglieri 3 – 34124 Trieste Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) and is supported by PromoTurismoFVGRegistration open. For more information, visit: www.iwinetc.com

Why Golfers Should Add Friuli Venezia Giulia to Their Wine List

The region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the host region for the International Wine Tourism Conference 2020, boasts seven 18-hole golf courses, nestled in the midst of varying terroirs. From the water-rimmed greens in Grado and Lignano, to the mountain forests of Tarvisio, from the gentle slopes of the hill district to the vineyards and castles around Gorizia. No matter which course you choose, golf in Friuli Venezia Giulia has the extraordinary taste of exploration and challenge. In a region where mountains, sea and hills cluster together in just over 100km, the seven golf courses are evenly distributed across the whole area enabling you to immerse yourself in a variety of incredibly beautiful nature settings. They also aim to enhance the national golf circuits under the “Italy Golf&More” project, by combining sports with other activities, such as food and wine, guided tours to famous art cities, excursions, rural tourism and much more.

The region’s seven golf clubs are as followed; Lignano Golf Club (6,345m, par 72), where lakes and bunkers appear, suitable for all. Grado Golf Club (5,746m, par 72), famous for the many water obstacles with the lagoon on the background. The club is situated in the splendid Primero Estate. Trieste Golf Club (5,810m, par 70), in a seemingly level but tricky green course with an unpredictable wind called bora. Castello di Spessa Golf Country Club (5,460m, par 71), deep in the rustic scenery of the Collio vineyards. Udine Golf Club (5,980m, par 72), for a course designed by the shade of the cherry trees and the gently rounded hills. Castel d’Aviano Golf Club (5,980m, par 72), in the nidst of centuries-old parkland. Lastly, Tarvisio Unlimited Golf Club (5,693m, par 70), designed by the well-known Canadian architect Graham Cooke, with wide fairways on the Alpine plateau, spacious greens and treacherous bunkers.

Hole Nº 18!

If you are interested in golf, whether you are a professional or beginner, Friuli Venezia Giulia is the place to go! Providing a diverse variety of courses in different terroirs – giving golfers unique experiences found nowhere else!

Article: Jethro Swift

The IWINETC 2020 two day conference and one day B2B Workshop will take place from 24 – 26 March at Stazione Marittima Conference Hall, Molo Bersaglieri 3 – 34124 Trieste Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) and is supported by PromoTurismoFVGRegistration open. For more information, visit: www.iwinetc.com

Culinary Delights on the Friuli Venezia Giulia Wine & Food Route

Three great culinary trends – Central European, Venetian and Slav – merge in a cuisine that is unique to Friuli Venezia Giulia. In Trieste, hosting city of the International Wine Tourism Conference 2020 (IWINETC), and Gorizia, the gastronomy is an encounter of Habsburg and Slavic traditions.

Apart from making excellent wines, the Friuli Venezia Giulia region also produces other traditional products such as honey, Asino cheese, white Friuli asparagus, San Daniele ham, Tergeste extra-virgin olive oil, Italian Salamini and Brovada (pickled turnips).

Food and wine lovers can sip and taste all of its flavours and experience its aromas by travelling the new Friuli Venezia Giulia Wine and Food Route with its 6 different itineraries. A single road connecting the coast to the mountains, networking the region’s agri-food and wine-growing resources, together with cultural and environmental highlights. The region’s typical dishes differ in every city as they each have a different influence from its historical past and proximity to other cultures.

In the region’s capital, Trieste, seafood dominates the city’s dishes as well as its Slavic-inspired dishes. There one can find Jota (hotpot dish that originated from Slovenia), Trieste-style salted cod, scampi alla busara (large prawns in tomato sauce). One can end a busy day by taking a break in one of the many osmizzas (wine-taverns).

In the city of Gorizia, its proximity to Slovenia is evident in its dishes, typically one finds potato gnocchi with plums drizzled with melted butter and many ham dishes. Towards the interior of the region, Udine and Pordenone’s dishes are influenced by the plateau’s agriculture – dishes with white asparagus, white truffle, raw ham that is slightly smoked and a wide variation of cheese.

Overall, the region’s culinary dishes can be mostly categorised in sea and mountain dishes. However, as mentioned, each city has its own style and unique flavours – utilizing its surrounding and historical ingredients, combined with local traditions to create dishes found nowhere else in Italy. Friuli Venezia Giulia is truly a hidden gem in the culinary world that can be found nowhere else!

Article: Jethro Swift

The IWINETC 2020 two day conference and one day B2B Workshop will take place from 24 – 26 March at Stazione Marittima Conference Hall, Molo Bersaglieri 3 – 34124 Trieste Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) and is supported by PromoTurismoFVGRegistration open. For more information, visit: www.iwinetc.com

Roving editor-in-chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International Felicity Carter Keynote Speaker at IWINETC 2020

IWINETC today announced Felicity Carter Editor-in-chief of Meininger’s Wine Business International, as the fifth of six exciting keynote speakers lined up for IWINETC 2020, which takes place in Trieste from 24-25 March.

It’s third time back at IWINETC for Felicity and for the 2020 edition of the IWINETC she will be delivering a talk titled: Turn your staff into your best advocates. Staff are the key to a successful wine tourism experience, whether they work in the cellar door or in marketing. But too often, staff training is limited to giving staff members information on the wines they’re selling and nothing more. Felicity Carter presents case studies of wine businesses that have improved their bottom line – and their visitor satisfaction – with better staff training”.

About Felicity

Felicity is a regular speaker at international wine events from ProWein to Wine2Wine, and she has spoken on wine tourism at a number of international conferences, including in Spain’s Basque Country, Hungary, South Africa and Portugal. A wine judge, Felicity has judged in Portugal, Germany, Bordeaux, Brussels and Georgia, and in 2015 formed part of the ‘empowerment of women in wine’ panel for Wines of Argentina. She is an international judge of the Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine List of the Year, and the China Wine List of the Year, and has been the international judge of the nationally televised German Wine Queen finals.

The IWINETC 2020 two day conference and one day B2B Workshop will take place from 24 – 26 March at Stazione Marittima Conference Hall, Molo Bersaglieri 3 – 34124 Trieste Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) and is supported by PromoTurismoFVGRegistration open. For more information, visit: www.iwinetc.com