France's foreign minister has taken time out from dealing with some of the world's more heavyweight issues to announce he is backing a plan to help France get more visitors, pinpointing wine tourism as a key area.

France is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, attracting close to 84m tourists every year. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius announced yesterday (11 June) that he wants that number to rise to 100m by 2020.

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Wine tourism is one of the best ways to achieve that, the French foreign office believes, as the country approaches the summer peak season.

During a news conference to reveal a range of new initiatives, Fabius told journalists that many of France’s beautiful wine regions, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne and Languedoc Rousillon, remain ‘under visited’, according to a report from the press conference by Associated Press.

Many French chateaux and wineries have made efforts to improve their wine tourism offering in recent years, whether by opening restaurants at their estates or building gites on their land.

Bordeaux is next year set to welcome a new wine cultural centre, named the Cite des Civilisations du Vin, following years of planning and despite the project requiring millions of extra euros to be finished.

Cite des civilisations du vin

How the Cite des Civilisations du Vin is set to look on the inside.

Fabius said that extra funding would be available for tourism projects, although he didn’t specify how much. France is to hold a national tourism conference in October.

The foreign minister also alluded to the need to improve the image of France as a welcoming nation for tourists. There is to be a major publicity campaign to promote the ‘hospitality of the French people’, the foreign office announced.

See Decanter.com wine travel guides for France:

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  • George Wong, Wine MBA

    The wine industry could lose a generation of customers if it doesn’t get better at capturing the attention of young consumers. They are curious about wine, but deterred by too many choices, styles and complex labeling.

    Winery visits present an excellent opportunity for consumers to explore the mysteries of wine. Creating experiences is the new weapon to differentiate your product and instill it in the minds of consumers. By staging memorable experiences will be able to use wine as a vehicle to enable them to charge more, create an image and identity, promote innovation and earn greater loyalty from their consumers.

    It was reported that visitors have some changes to their wine consumption after
    their memorable experiences in a wine tour. The greatest change came in the
    quality of wine consumed, buying more expensive wines and selecting wines of a
    higher price than previously, indicated that they now consumed higher-quality
    wines than in the past. This suggests that an educational impact occurs in
    going to a wine region and participating in the cellar door experience.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1523602167639&set=a.1523601847631.2072000.1162154249&type=3&l=c310b3c389&theater

    These results highlighted not only the significant changes to purchasing higher-priced wines but also consuming wine more frequently than in the past.

    As anybody who loves wines knows, the regions where the finest wine is made are special places – even magical. And most everybody who loves wine wants to see where the magic is being made…” Few people therefore would deny the emotional attachment associated with wine and where it was produced. Since the concept of experiential marketing focuses on the use of touch, taste and smell to enhance the more obvious visual route thus providing a total sensory experience!

    Cheers
    George Wong, Wine MBA
    Oenologue & Consultant