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Provence winery plans open-air theatre and treasure hunts for tourists

Open-air theatre, film screenings and a scavenger hunt will be central to Provence estate Château Gassier’s tourism offering this summer as the EU plans to restart travel in Europe.

Located in the town of Puyloubier, in Sainte-Victoire Valley, Château Gassier is adding more outdoor activities to cater for the south of France’s influx of tourists.

Guests will be able to take part in a range of outdoor activities across the 40-hectare estate, including a 3km tour through the vineyard on foot or electric bike, open-air musical performances, and a treasure hunt.

The estate’s preparations come as the EU set out plans for a phased restart of travel this summer, hoping to save millions of tourism jobs threatened by the coronavirus pandemic across Europe.

Tourism has become a key revenue driver for wine producers in recent years.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization held its first Global Conference on Wine Tourism in Georgia in 2016. Research published at the conference found that revenue from wine tourism in the US increased by 10-15% between 2013 and 2016, for a total of $22 billion.

In France, there was a 61% increase in visitors in Bordeaux between 2002 and 2016. Meanwhile, two British oenotourism agencies, Grape Escapes and Smooth Red, estimated that their revenues would rise 30% in 2018.

Last year, rosé wine label Ultimate Provence opened the doors to a 70-hectare wine estate and hotel, hoping to attract a keen crowd of affluent millennials with live DJs, electro brunches, and some wine tasting thrown in for good measure.

But the tourism industry has suffered heavy losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with widespread hotel closures and travel rtestrictions bringing European holidays to a standstill.

While Gassier had already included picnics, vineyard walks and cinema screenings in its tourism offering for years, now, the estate has added more outdoor activities in the hope it will bring tourists back after the country’s strict coronavirus lockdown.

On the first three Thursdays of June, the châteaux is inviting people to visit for “laid back early evening drinks and music whilst watching the sunset.”

Then on 26 June, the estate plans to host an open-air theatre performance by the Compagnie Pleins Feux.


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