Leading perspectives to present Bulgaria as a destination for wine tourism

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Doctor of Economics and Management, Travel Consultant
Affiliation: University of Economics - Varna
Address: Bulgaria, Varna
Journal namePskov Journal of Regional Studies
EditionVolume 19. No4/2023

The current paper’s goal is to outline some leading perspectives for destination Bulgaria to develop wine tourism as an alternative form of tourism attracting specific tourist segment. Wine and gastronomic tours are gaining great popularity around the world. They gain significant recognition in the Bulgarian travel and tourism industry as an alternative to mass tourism practices. Wine tourism crеates new opportunities for the development of certain regions that remain off the side of the traditional tourist routes and contribute local communities’ incomes. The interest in this type of tourism is growing due to the fact that it is associated with a series of events that improve the image of destinations. All these circumstances determine the importance of the topic.To fulfil the goal set at the beginning, various research methods were comprehended, such as: research of theoretical studies; processing, analysis and systematization of statistical data; empirical methods and studying. The first part of the publication examines main definitions of wine tourism, giving a short historical review of this alternative form of tourism. The second part of the report is dedicated to the results of the analysis — revealing the resource potential and some significant wine cellars, distinct for visitors and wine professionals. The final part consists of outlined possibilities and perspectives for development, summarizing some research results.

Keywordswine tourism, alternative tourism, resource potential, perspectives
Publication date29.11.2023
Number of characters30805
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1 Introduction. In the era of mass tourism, wine-related travel forms its own profile and independent market niche. Wine and gastronomic tours are gaining great popularity around the world in recent years, no exception for Bulgaria too. According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), this type of travel is becoming a key factor when fully exploring a given destination for tourists from Europe, Asia and the Americas. For them, wine, gastronomy, culture and nature enrich the experience.
2 Wine tourism is one of the fast-growing forms of alternative tourism, which has gained significant recognition in the Bulgarian travel and tourism industry. One of the reasons is that wine tourism, in addition to being often associated with tastings, includes discourse about wine technology, grape harvesting, preparing grapes for fermentation, as well as buying wine directly from the winery. That is way, Bulgaria is easily becoming an attractive destination for wine tourism: there are traditions of production, compact clusters of wineries that make quality wines and an increasing number of places that welcome guests. Wine tourism in Bulgaria is also developing thanks to the appropriate available conditions and resources, stimulating its transformation into a destination for this type of alternative tourism. Moreover, wineries started to offer additional services such as: wine workshops, yoga among the vines or barrels, wine picnics, wine bike tours, grape harvest participation, wine and gourmet tastings.
3 Hypothesis. “Liquid gold”, or what we call wine, occupies a particularly important role in Bulgarian history, way of life of its population and their culture. More than often this alternative form of tourism is correlated with collection of intertwining stories — on earth; to people engaged in winemaking; of the vine varieties; of ideologies; the specifics of service technology; of traditions, even of fashion. Wine tourism crеates new opportunities for the development of certain areas that remain off the side of the traditional tourist routes. It has the potential to promote entirely new routes and to position destination Bulgaria on the map of the European wine road. One of its many advantages is that it can be practiced year-round. All these circumstances determine the importance of the topic. The purpose of the publication is to outline the perspectives of destination Bulgaria to develop as a wine-tourism destination. To achieve the goal, the author will analyze and evaluate the potential of the wine regions, their resources and will discover some good practices. On these specific grounds the attempt is to reveal the possibilities and benefits for destination Bulgaria to present itself on the global travel market through this alternative form of tourism. To achieve the goal, the author emphasises on the following leading tasks: – Definition of the wine tourism; – Analysis of the wine-regions of the country; – Outlining some leading tendencies for wine tourism development in Bulgaria; – Revealing opportunities and perspectives for the wine tourism in Bulgaria.
4 To achieve the goal and fulfil the tasks set, various research methods were comprehended — research of theoretical studies; processing, analysis and systematization of statistical data; empirical methods and studying. The main limitations in the implementation of the research are primarily related to the lack of accurate statistical information regarding the practice of wine tourism, the absence of public access to specific studies and analyses.
5 Theoretical background. The travel and tourism industry unites various components and specific activities in the process of its development and improvement. According to M. A. Vodenska [18], it consists of three main elements: dynamic — travel to a chosen destination; static — staying in the destination; an element that derives from the previous two ones and deals with the impacts of the economic, physical and social subsystems (being in direct or indirect influence). Compared to mass tourism, alternative tourism, such as wine tourism, evolved later, but there is already a wide variety of its types and forms. Reportedly, the process led to a significant growth in the national tourism product, which is why scholars and professionals believe that it is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel and tourism industry [13; 14].
6 Wine tourism focuses on visits to wine regions, wine cellars and tasting rooms. Thus, tourists are given the opportunity to enjoy a variety of wines, learn more about the traditions, food and cultural heritage of the exact spots. G. Rafailova and S. Kadieva [14] maintain that the essential characteristic of wine tourism is the meaning and significance of the term “wine”, and hence the definition of wine tourism. In a broad sense, this term is embedded in the viticultural cycle — “vineyard — primary wine production — secondary wine production — distribution — wine consumption”. The Australian Association [1] of wine producers have another definition: Wine tourism is a visit to wineries and wine regions to experience the unique qualities of the modern Australian lifestyle associated with the enjoyment of wine, food, scenery and culture. In 2016, Mincheva and Marinov [12] researched the attitudes of the so-called wine tourists in Bulgaria. They focus on aspects such as wine preferences, frequency of consumption, frequency of traveling with wine, etc. The most popular motivation according to them for undertaking this type of travel was identified as “wine tasting and learning about winemaking”. Another scholar [11] introduces the term of Viticulture, stating that this specific style combined with the process of winemaking compounds the basis of wine tourism. Marinov [11] revealed that viniculture consists of: conducting research and creating applied practices regarding: the origin and distribution of the vine; vine biology (morphological structure); vine ecology (climate and microclimate, latitude, altitude, proximity to water bodies, topography and exposure, and soil); propagation of the vine, creation of vines, pruning and formation of the vine, cultivation of fruit-bearing vines; harvesting and storing grapes; ampelography (grape varieties).

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