Over the past five years the number of agritourists visiting businesses in Australia has grown significantly.
According to Tourism Research Australia, between 2010-11 and 2015-16 the domestic tourists visiting wineries grew by 13 per cent a year on average, while international visitors increased by 8 per cent a year.
“We’ve seen an ongoing influx of Chinese tourists in particular, with over one million visitors arriving in Australia from China each year, a number expected to grow to three million by 2024,” Osborn said.
“This is only a few years away making ongoing investment in additional facilities and infrastructure critical in keeping up with demand. Our current restaurant and tasting room were full all year around so the time was right to expand.”
The opportunities for agribusinesses are substantial. According to a Deloitte Agribusiness Bulletin, in 2015-16, agri tourists spent $9.4 billion on their total trip. This includes domestic daytrip visitors ($A600 million), domestic overnight visitors ($4.1 billion) and international visitors ($A4.7 billion).
d’Arenberg’s d’Arry’s Verandah Restaurant was one of the first established in McLaren Vale in 1996. According to d'Arenberg managing director Francis Osborn, the group employs some 130 people, which is set expand further with the opening of the cube.
The region McLaren Vale boasts more than 40 restaurants, highlighting the importance of understanding consumer expectations for those competing for a share of visitors.
“We’ve seen greater demand from the younger generation in particular, and we now offer a range of experiences from blending classes and tasting verticals to tours of the local region,” Chester Osborn says.
Simone Stella is a bluenotes contributor