Festival fun and wine tourism also generate a serious economic impact, according to the report by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, B.C. Wine Institute and the Okanagan School of Business at Okanagan College.
The Okanagan Wine Tourism Industry Economic Impact Report also reveals:
- Wine festivals generate $87 million in direct annual economic impact and $52 million in indirect economic impact
- There are more than 1,000 full-time jobs in wine tourism and tourism-related employment on an annual basis and more than 460 indirect jobs
- Net annual government revenue from wine tourism is $4 million
- The value added or GDP impact attributed to Okanagan wine tourism is $69-plus million
- Based on more than 1,000 interviews at member wineries and at Okanagan wine festivals, the study provides interesting demographic information about wine tourists. Destination wine tourists spend on average $475 per trip to the Okanagan and regional wine tourists spend $120 per visit.
The most common party size is two people. Wine festivals on the whole tend to attract a younger audience, and close to 70 per cent of wine tourists have a minimum of two years' college or university education.
"This study really validates the importance of wine tourism to our local economy and how the Wine Festivals and its 100-plus member wineries have been successful in engaging consumers in unique and authentically British Columbian wine experiences year-round, and directly yielding increases in the sale of wine, food and accommodation," said Blair Baldwin, professor at the Okanagan School of Business at Okanagan College.
Eric von Krosigk, chairman of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, stated, "This study is welcome news and underscores the belief that wine tourism is a terrific economic driver.
"And what better time to announce these results than at the start of the 33rd Fall Okanagan Wine Festival.
"Our events range from large consumer tastings to intimate wine and food gatherings, but they all have one common theme - authenticity and interaction. You get to meet the characters behind the wine and experience wine country the way it's meant to be enjoyed in a fun and social atmosphere."
"Our wine industry contributes more than tourism revenue and jobs - it's a source of pride," said B.C. Premier Christy Clark.
"Festivals like this are a great way to highlight some of the Okanagan's and the world's best wines, and I encourage everyone to check it out."
"The wine sector has become a critical component of the tourism experience in the Thompson Okanagan region and as major advancements have been made in the industry, we're really seeing the Valley as world class in offering exceptional culinary and wine experiences at the cellar door," said Glenn Mandziuk, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association CEO.
The Fall Okanagan Wine Festival runs Oct.
4-14. The festivities kick off with the annual B.C. Wine Awards reception on Oct. 3 and wrap up at the Valley First Grand Finale Consumer Tastings on Oct. 11-12. Event and ticket information is available at www.thewinefestivals.com.