Guided visits aim to valorise the women and men who live and work in industrial territory.
Val-de-Marne Tourist Board decided to develop company visits for several reasons:
- To enhance the value of its suburban area in an innovative way by fully integrating those who live and work there. Companies, other than tourism, and the inhabitants are rarely involved in the tourism development of destinations.
- To succeed in our mission of tourism development in our territory (that is little associated with tourism) and so close to a major tourist city like Paris, we must find an innovative positioning.
This type of visit allows inhabitants and visitors to get inside the companies and discover the behind-the-scenes of these businesses, or simply craftsmen. This allows communication about the know-how that makes the reputation of the territories: industrial activities, transport, logistics, craftsmen, public energy services, management of water-related facilities, etc.
All this is a real experience, even if these visits can't welcome big groups of visitors.
Today's tourists want to learn about people's lifestyles ("like a local" experience), visit behind the scenes and get to places where tourists don't usually go.
To achieve this, the Val-de-Marne Tourist Board targets a number of businesses characteristic of the territory.
For the Marne river, these are companies linked to the river: the industrial port of Bonneuil with cruises on river transport, logistics, the management of locks or waterworks, etc.
Resources needed for Val-de-Marne Tourism to develop this offer :
- 0,5 Full time equivalent for development and marketing
- 1200€ adhesion to a national association for communication and services
Evidence of success
Each year, Val-de-Marne Tourism Board develop a diversified offer of Industrial tourism guided tours promoted on Explore Paris platform.
Orly Airport : 10 guided tours in 2019, 200 participants.
Post Office sorting centre : 3 guided tours in 2019, 60 participants.
Bonneuil Industrial Port : 4 guided tour in 2019, 120 participants
The organisation of guided tours allows companies to mobilise their employees in a common project which is very rewarding for them.
It is imperative that these visits do not interfere with the functioning of the companies, which is why the system must be as flexible as possible (dates, slots).
Depending on the size and activity of the company, the number of visits and the size of the groups can be limited.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice can be transferable as it is a current trend in tourism to better integrate all the actors of a territory in the development of tourism. Each territory can rely on its companies and employees.
Key success factors :
- Relying on networks of businesses, clubs, without forgetting public services
- Plan a sales pitch to present to companies
It requires some organisational work from the companies to develop the guided tour.
Val-de-Marne Tourisù Board provides its expertise : advice on organising visits, booking tools, communication, customer relationship management, etc.