Educating tourists about their role in keeping vines healthy has been identified as a priority by participants of the Wine Tourism Biosecurity training program.
The Vinehealth Australia training program was rolled out in SA wine regions in February and March for cellar door and tourism staff. At the start of each training session, participants were surveyed to measure their understanding of biosecurity issues and to discover what biosecurity activities they undertake at their cellar door.
More than 220 training participants completed a survey. Most understand the risks that exotic pests, diseases and weeds can cause, but participant feedback indicates that biosecurity should be a bigger focus in tourism.
“Not a lot of tourists know the risks.” “Informing the public is important.” “Lack of knowledge is an issue.” “We need to get the message across to visitors.” “Language barriers are a problem.”
This is just a snapshot of the comments made by training participants in relation to the work that needs to be done in the wine tourism biosecurity education space.
Vinehealth Australia sent a follow up survey to all participants earlier this month, to see if they have implemented biosecurity activities for tourists at their cellar doors since their training. These activities included asking tourists where they have been in the past three weeks before allowing vineyard entry, putting up fencing or signs, including ‘healthy vines’ messages in their visitor welcome, or training more staff.
We’ll share more information about the results of the surveys in future e-news issues.