In 2014 tourism contributed £60bn to the UK economy. With an increase in wine tourism the figure could grow. WSTA's research shows that the average wine traveler in the USA spends £650 per trip on wine-related activities, showing the potential of wine tourism in the UK.
Over 100 vineyards are open to visitors in the UK with the majority of them within an hour’s train journey of London.
A number of UK vineyards have added restaurants, cafés and accommodation in order to compete in the tourism sector and increase visitor numbers.
WSTA claim that wine tourism is an ‘untapped asset’ for continued growth in UK tourism.
Miles Beale, chief executive of WSTA, said: “We have seen considerable growth in the wine tourism industry over recent years and it is fantastic that vineyards across the UK are starting to feel the very real benefits from this growth. With an ever-increasing number of tourists, as well as a growing export market for English wine, it is an exciting realisation that our vineyards and wineries are competing with the best in the world.”
Sam Linter, managing director of Bolney Wine Estates, said that they are looking to expand to attract more tourism.
“With a more open space, we are hoping to welcome even bigger groups to our vineyard and with a new balcony overlooking the vineyard, we hope to provide the perfect location for visitors to enjoy a glass of wine and bite to eat,” she said.
Julia Trustram-Eve, marketing director of English Wine Producers, said that the growth in locally-sourced and produced food has increased the interest in rural tourism such as the wine industry, while pubs have also had a positive impact on it.
“As English wines become available in pubs, restaurants and retail outlets, it is great to see visitors given the chance to look behind the scenes. Wine tourism, in whatever guise, is something that is a growing area in the UK wine industry,” she said.