Vendée: how Puy du Fou seduces tour operators from all over the world

For the occasion, the dinner show Le Café de la Madelon was translated into English for the first time. Spectators experience a wedding as if they were the guests. © Lucile AKRICH

“The goal is to impress them!”

On Puy du Fou, the goal is clear. This evening d Wednesday, March 23, 2022 must remain engraved for a long time in the memory of its hosts. 600 visitors were expected by 7 pm in the amusement park Epesses. Coats flocked with the house logo, fluorescent pinafores on the back: everyone was in their place for this very first major event of the season, welcoming hundreds of representatives of tour operators from around the world, three weeks before the opening to the public.

The awakening of tourism?

At the end of the 15thand salon Appointment in Franceit was at Nantesan international event led by Asset Francethe Vendée Park was responsible for providing an unforgettable evening for tourist buyers from all over the world.

“We welcome about twenty nationalities, mainly from North America, but also from Belgium, Spain, Canada,” says a Puy du Fou director.

‘On the other hand, there are very few Asians. “The resumption of the Covid-19 epidemic in China has not allowed the return of this clientele that loves France and vice versa.

For two years, the tourism sector has been turned upside down health crisis. This evening marked the hope of the “revival of tourism” and a resumption of business for many. Starting with the Vendée Park, which lost more than 50 million euros in revenue in 2020 compared to 2019 (-43%). It is far from having regained attendance before the crisis last year. Foreign visitors represent 15% of its attendance. They have largely been lost in the last two years.

Roll out the red carpet

So there is no question of missing the boat. Le Puy du Fou, a showcase for French tourism, has gone to great lengths to roll out the red carpet for its exceptional guests. Because these Canadians, Brazilians, Americans, but also Frenchmen, were welcomed this week those who do mass tourism around the world. For the occasion, two flagship shows were played in the park only for the 600 selected spectators.

Then the dinner show, Cafe de la Madelona “classic” of the Vendée Park, was given in English for the first time.

Videos: currently on Actu

“It is very important for us to welcome visitors from all over the world and to help people discover the heritage of French culture.”

Nicolas de Villiers, the chairman of the amusement park, in perfect English at the microphone

“You have to come here if you want to see these important shows, because our know-how is unique,” he tells his guests, urging “stays of three or four days to be able to see everything.”

A long-term effect

The last fireworks, the nocturnal magic The Marriage of Fire is done seducing the guests. Not sure the American visitors have all grasped the subtleties of the Vendée story staged in a magnificent and slightly arranged way in The last tab. So what. Puy du Fou’s know-how, which has twice been voted “Best Park in the World”, makes magic possible.

“I’m blown away!” Says a Paris-based tourism professional who discovered Puy du Fou for the first time. “I had not imagined such a technicality, such a quality of sight.”

Cécile Gadeceau works for “The Travel Corporation”, a tour operator that buys group accommodation for Americans, Australians or Canadians. She promises she will tell her doctor what she saw in the Vendée.

“An evening like this can have a huge impact. Not necessarily in the short term, but over time, ”analyzes Emmanuel Gueguen. This French expatriate in London sits next to his colleague and works for a heavyweight in the tourism sector. He also buys accommodation for groups of Americans of all levels. “My company sends me to Rendez-vous in France to search for hotels,” he explains.

“Most of the time, Americans want to see Paris and the Côte d’Azur. It’s very difficult to take them anywhere else, to France.”

Emmanuel Gueguen, dealer

“But the day my clients, for example, want to go on a themed tour, I could suggest the destination Puy du Fou,” explains the professional, who was totally “surprised” by his marathon night.

Making an impression is what Puy du Fou was looking for. Mission accomplished.

Tourist benefits will be measured over time.

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