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Wine tourism booms in the UK as visits to vineyards surge by 55%

Published:  20 June, 2024

WineGB has released its first comprehensive wine tourism report, revealing a significant surge in visits to UK vineyards and wineries. According to the findings, visits have increased by 55% over the past two years, highlighting the burgeoning appeal of English and Welsh wine tourism.

The report indicates that 1.5 million people visited UK vineyards and wineries last year, accounting for a quarter of the total income for these establishments. The industry anticipates continued growth and investment, with WineGB forecasting further expansion in the coming years.

WineGB’s 2024 Industry Survey, which captured responses from over 130 members accounting for more than 90% of UK wine production, provides a detailed snapshot of the sector’s forward momentum. The survey reveals that there are currently 300 vineyards and wineries actively engaged in wine tourism.

Among the top activities attracting visitors are:

275 cellar doors and shops

260 guided tours and tastings

103 venues for hire

97 self-guided tours

92 places to stay and eat

38 picnic areas

A notable 42% of inbound visitors expressed high interest in visiting a winery. According to VisitBritain’s research, the potential pool of visitors could reach as high as 16 million if supportive measures are implemented.

The report also highlighted the economic impact of wine tourism, with significant growth and investment anticipated. Sixty per cent of survey respondents expect visitor numbers to grow by over 20% in the next five years. Moreover, 60% plan to invest in enhancing their wine tourism offerings, focusing on food, on-site events, and accommodation.

As a result, WineGB has outlined seven policy changes it urges the new government to adopt to further bolster the sector, including the introduction of a cellar door relief scheme.

Nicola Bates, CEO of WineGB, commented on the report’s findings: “Our Manifesto for Growth identified essential policies for accelerating our sector’s development. Today’s report showcases the immense value and importance of wine tourism in our industry. It’s our call to action for policy changes in tax, planning, and marketing to unlock the full potential of wine tourism and reach 16 million visitors.”

WineGB plans to release two more reports this year. In August, the Guide to UK Wine Tourism will be published, highlighting best practices across the industry. This will be followed by another report focusing on sustainable growth in English and Welsh wine production.

The report emphasises the need for government backing to ensure the continued growth and success of wine tourism, positioning the UK as a premier destination for wine enthusiasts globally.