Wedding tourism is booming in the Western Cape Winelands, according to estate agents. Consumer desires for picturesque vineyards and country landscapes for weddings and other celebrations has enabled greater development of guest farms and lodges to be equipped with facilities such as chapels, wedding venue and guest accommodation.
Tulbagh Valley is experiencing a high demand for scenic wedding settings, says Nelia Retief from Seeff. All 12 Seeff’s wedding venues in the area are fully booked ahead of wedding season. It is not only locals that are flocking to the area to host celebrations, foreigners are taking advantage of the great exchange rates too. And the Cape Winelands is very attractive to those seeking to book entire venues including overnight accommodation and even nearby properties to accommodate guests, says Retief.
The most recent data from Stats SA shows that as much as 138 627 civil marriages are concluded annually in South Africa. The most popular times for weddings are the warmer months of September through to a December peak.
An estimated value of around $298-billion has been placed on the global wedding industry by Tourismtatler.com and this value is still on the rise. A wedding in South Africa can cost between R80,000 and R150,000 or more, with half of this amount going toward venue costs and the rest being dedicated to food and decor according to a Businesstech report.
Retief also stated that the Cape Winelands and the Boland are sought after due to their mountain and vineyard landscapes as well as sensational Cape vernacular building styles all of which make for a ‘fairy tale’ setting and exceptional photographic backdrops.
With the convenience of Cape Town and an international airport nearby, it is easy for guests to fly into the area. Tulbagh has seen a rise in wedding tourism because of its scenic offering.
Investments in a wedding tourism product in the valley will cost upwards of around R17.8m to R26.95m for suitable land like the 153ha Welbedacht Game and Nature Reserve which lies on the slopes of the Winterhoek Mountains.