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France to become the world’s most visited country by 2025

New research from GlobalData has suggested that in the next two years France will become the most visited country in the world, a development which could have major ramifications for its wine tourism industry.

Before the Pandemic, France was regularly in the top spot, but since then it was overtaken by Spain. However, last year (2022), France attracted some 66.6 million visitors, and, according to GlobalData, that number is expected to grow by 12.1% per annum, meaning that by 2025 an estimated 93.7m people will be visiting the country.

Hannah Free, GlobalData travel and tourism analyst, said: “Visitation to France and Spain will remain strong in the years to come, with festivals, culture, and gastronomy being a big pull for tourists.”

The report noted that transport links, particularly by rail, were a major factor in tourists from (and visiting) Europe travelling there. Indeed, there are plans to open a high-speed rail link from the UK to Bordeaux by 2026.

But, while all of France has appeal to tourists, Provence, with its warm weather, stunning landscapes and celebrated cuisine, is a particularly popular destination – and wine plays a significant part.

Brice Eymard, managing director of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP) told db that the diversity of what Provence’s producers offer has been a key factor in the growth of wine tourism in the region: “Our wine tourism offer is both abundant and eclectic, making it possible, over the seasons, to provide different experiences for everyone, from visitors passing through, to families and epicureans, to lovers of great wine. Producers offer everything from tastings and activities in the cellars and vineyards to family-focused endeavours, restaurants, jazz or classical music concerts, art exhibitions, film screenings under the stars, charming accommodation, yoga in the vineyards, hiking trails, horseback riding, mountain biking…The options are endless!”

“As Vins de Provence rosé has gained popularity over the past decade, we have seen more people want to come and experience the lifestyle and vineyards for themselves,” he added. “Provence is a tourist hot-spot and our vineyards form a large part of our cultural heritage so there is inevitably interest from tourists who want to take a little bit of Provence home with them. Provence rosé wine has made a place for itself in today’s society. It is perfectly aligned with the evolution of new consumer and lifestyle trends: less structured meals, cuisines from around the world in our plates, simple and direct gastronomy, sustainability and conviviality that makes everyone want to experience Provence rosé, whether at home or in the vineyard.”

Eymard revealed that, with the end of Covid-related travel restrictions, embracing the digital world has been key to getting physical visitors to vineyards again: “In 2021, the CIVP launched the free Destinations Vins de Provence app, available on IOS and Android, that helps visitors to the region see what wineries are offering in real time. It allows new visitors to find activities according to what they want to do on their trip, whether it’s discovering new vineyards, tasting wines, sampling the local gastronomy or simply having fun. Regularly updated, it connects fans of the region’s rosé directly with its winemakers.”

As for whether investment in wine tourism will continue, Eymard said: “Wine tourism is a big focus for Vins de Provence. We want to be able to identify, qualify and organise the choice of solutions across the region in order to provide immersive experiences that help raise the collective profile of Vins de Provence. To cater visitors’ needs, a new online platform will become a one-stop-shop, providing access to all wine tourism solutions offered by the region’s wineries and estates.”

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