IWINETC 2024 Plovdiv: A Resounding Success

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

The 15th annual International Wine Tourism Conference (IWINETC), held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on April 9th and 10th, 2024, concluded with resounding success. The conference brought together leading figures in the wine tourism industry for a dynamic exchange of knowledge, partnership building, and exploration of Bulgaria’s rich cultural and oenological heritage.

Warm Welcomes and Insightful Discussions

As a pre – conference event, Plovdiv Municipality actively showcased the city’s cultural highlights by organizing a dedicated Walking Tour for tour operators. Additionally, the Municipality played a pivotal role in the IWINETC Welcome Reception held at the Early Christian Basilica, where Mr. Plamen Panov, Deputy Mayor of Plovdiv in charge of Culture, Archaeology and Tourism delivered a captivating welcome speech emphasizing the city’s unique synergy of cultural heritage, archaeological treasures, and thriving tourism sector.

The Conference agenda of talks commenced with opening remarks from esteemed dignitaries, including Mr. Anthony Swift, Director of IWINETC, Mr. Alexander Lotsev, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food of Bulgaria, Mr. Plamen Panov, Deputy Mayor of Plovdiv in charge of Culture, Archaeology and Tourism, and Mr. Vasil Zlatev, representing the Bulgarian Association of Wine Professionals.

Knowledge Shared, Connections Forged

Over the course of a day and a half, a distinguished panel of industry experts, including Peter Syme, Chris Torres, Irem Eren, Tanisha Townsend, Valentina Soumintoub, Nicoleta Dicova, Dimitar Dimov, and Stefano Tulli, presented insightful talks on various aspects of wine tourism. The diverse audience of 130 attendees, representing a remarkable 45 countries, actively participated in discussions and workshops, fostering a vibrant exchange of ideas and experiences.

B2B Wine Tourism Workshop Takes Centre Stage

A cornerstone of the conference was the dynamic B2B Workshop, facilitating over 500 pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings. This platform enabled tour operators from key wine tourism markets such as the United States, Nordic countries, Germany, Australia, and Hong Kong to connect and build partnerships with wine tourism experience providers from Albania, Armenia, Italy, the Czech Republic (including South Moravia), and various Bulgarian destinations like the Stuma Valley and the Thracian Valley. The conference program included a dedicated exhibition featuring wines and highlighting new destinations for delegates to discover

Celebrating Collaboration and Bulgarian Delights

The support of the Bulgarian Ministry of Tourism, the Plovdiv Municipality and the Bulgarian Association of Wine Professionals is acknowledged with gratitude. The invaluable contributions of Gold Sponsors Katerzyna Estate, Czech Tourism, and South Moravia further amplified the success of the event. Networking events, held at esteemed venues such as Villa Yustina, Zagreus Winery, and the Katarzyna Winery and Hotel, allowed delegates to indulge in authentic Bulgarian wine and culinary tourism experiences, solidifying connections and fostering lasting memories.

In a statement, Anthony Swift, Director of IWINETC, highlighted the overall success of the event, the quality of the speakers, and Bulgaria’s emergence as a rising star in wine tourism.

Exploring Bulgarian Wine Tourism and Looking Ahead

Hosted agents were divided into three groups, embarking on curated tours that showcased the best of Bulgarian wine and culinary tourism in the Danube Plain (NW Bulgaria), the Sakar Wine Region, and the Melnik Wine Region.

The conference culminated with the exciting announcement that IWINETC 2025 will be held in South Moravia, Czech Republic, on March 26th and 27th, 2025. The news was met with great enthusiasm, followed by captivating presentations by Ms. Jana Humpolíková (Czech Republic) and Ms. Martina Grůzová (South Moravia). A toast with Bohemia Sekt Prestige Brut elegantly concluded IWINETC 2024, marking a truly successful and inspiring chapter in the world of wine and culinary tourism.


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