The 5th UNWTO Global Conference on Wine Tourism took place September 9th-10th in Monsaraz a historic rural community in the Alentejo region of Portugal. This year’s theme was ‘Wine Tourism – a Driver for Rural Development’.
Sheree M. Mitchell, President of the American Society of Travel Advisors Chapter in
Portugal, was invited to deliver a keynote speech on Wine Tourism in Portugal for an
audience of elected officials and other high-level public and private sector representatives from Europe and the Americas.
Mitchell’s presentation was given from the perspective of a North American tour operator that has designed and executed exclusive wine tourism products in Portugal for high-networth individuals since 2015.
Portugal, a significant wine producing country, has 14 different wine regions, including the Azores and Madeira islands, all with diverse levels of tourism infrastructure. Mitchell addressed this as she described the unique selling proposition of each wine region individually.
When asked about the impact of wine tourism, Mitchell stated, "With strategic planning, wine tourism has the potential to be a powerful agent of change in rural communities around the world.” Mitchell also provided detailed examples of the economic impact that Immersa Global, the tour operator that she founded and an official ASTA supplier partner, had on the Alentejo region in 2018 and 2019.
The conference also featured internationally known speakers such as Paul Mabray, CEO
of PIX and well-known American expert in big data in the wine industry, as well as Amaia Lopez de Heredia of “Proyectos Turisticos” in Spain and Laure de Lambert-Compeyrot, CEO of Château Sigalas Rabaud from France.
The Master of Ceremonies for the conference was Paulo Salvador, Executive Producer of
Mesa Nacional, the prime time television program that highlights off-the-beaten path
family-owned restaurants around Portugal.