Report shows wine tourism is slowly recovering from pandemic pause

Tourist traffic has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels for British Columbia’s wine industry.

A new report from the Wine Growers of British Columbia shows just how tough BC’s wine industry is.

“From 2019 to 2020, we saw tourism drop about 80 percent, employment down about 50 percent and economic impact down nearly 66 percent,” Miles Prodan, president of Wine Growers British Columbia, said in the accompanying press release. .

The report found that 1,191,500 tourists visited BC wineries in 2019, but only 254,110 in 2020. That reflects a drop in revenue from more than $609 million to less than $191 million.

“That tourist stretch has really declined due to COVID-19,” said report author Dr. Robert Eyler, president of Economic Forensics and Analytics in the release.

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“The ripple effects of a lack of tourism are fueling the wine industry and related industries. With most economists predicting that global tourism will not return to 2019 numbers until 2024/25, the wine industry needs to approach tourism differently to bridge the gap.”

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Prodan reiterates that it could take years for BC’s wine industry to recover.

“All over the world, wine tourism is on the rise and we don’t see that coming back for the next five years. It’s going to be a slow comeback, it won’t be an instant comeback,” he said.

Grizzli Winery in West Kelowna said they used to cater to international tourists for the most part, but have had to change their model since the pandemic.

“We’re a 20,000-foot tasting room and we had all our counters full of people and tourists. And when the pandemic hit, everything changed dramatically,” said Breanna Nathorst, marketing supervisor for Grizzli Winery.

“We weren’t an event-based winery, but we really needed to change our model of international tourism and focus on our local audience.”


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Grapes are harvested for wine production in Kelowna, BC – October 8, 2021

Wine Growers British Columbia says pre-pandemic BC’s wine and grape economy contributed $3.75 billion to BC’s economy in 2019, up 86.7 percent from 2011.

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The organization is calling on the government to bring back the momentum the industry had before the pandemic.

“These findings demonstrate that for the BC wine economy to regain the momentum and potential of its pre-pandemic growth, especially when it comes to tourism, strategic collaboration between government and industry will be required,” said Prodan.

Wine Growers British Columbia is developing a BC Wine Tourism Strategy that will pave the way for wine tourism for the next five years.

“To fully realize the economic benefits of wine tourism, we must continue to make committed investments to drive the industry forward. We have a vision for long-term success.” said Prodan.


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As fewer wineries produce ice wine this year, consumers may see a price increase for the premium product – January 20, 2021

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