GET ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital edition of Attractions Management and the FREE weekly Attractions Management ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
POST YOUR JOB ONLINE
Free ezine/digital edition sign up
Jobs   News   Features   Video    Products   Company profilesProfiles   Magazine   Handbook   Advertise  
People
Nicolas de Villiers

The biggest challenge for us is to become genuinely American in our hearts and minds, in order to understand what will move our future audience


Puy du Fou is set to enter the US attractions market with its iconic, immersive themed visitor experience, after securing a partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI).

The EBCI Tribal Council has approved plans to provide US$75m worth of funding for phase 1 of The Gateway to Adventure project in Sevierville, Tennessee.

The Puy du Fou element will be a major part of the 200-acre development, located at the start of the Smoky Mountains. According to EBCI, the US’ first Puy du Fou will be a fully immersive walk-through show inspired by an “authentic and heartbreaking Cherokee story” of their heroism in World War 1.

As well as Puy du Fou, The Gateway to Adventure project will feature the world’s largest Buc-ee’s Family Travel Center, as well as shops, restaurants, other themed experiences, parks and hotels.

Here Nicolas de Villiers, chairman and artistic director of Puy du Fou, speaks exclusively to Attractions Management about this exciting project.

How did your partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians come about?
Thanks to Matthew Cross, founder of consultancy and development company OE Experiences, we crossed paths with the EBCI, who were looking for diversification by creating a family destination in Sevier County. Puy du Fou is a celebration of history and cultural roots; we mainly deal with stories inspired by history. EBCI wanted an original show with a new brand able to bring a new concept to this region. EBCI has been very open to the ideas Puy du Fou has presented; as such, this partnership makes perfect sense.

What will the show involve?
This immersive experience will be a deep dive into an authentic and breathtaking history – the story of the Cherokee volunteers who fought alongside American boys for their country and for freedom during the First World War. This story is little-known and will pay a deserved tribute to these heroes. From the Appalachian foothills to the French battlefields, our spectators of all ages will embark on an epic journey that will transform them.

What excites you and the team most about telling this story about the Cherokee Indians?
For us, each new meeting is an opportunity to discover another culture, another history, another perspective on our world. We’ve been touched by the glorious and suffering history of the Cherokees; there are some similarities with our history, here in western France. We’ve witnessed them making their path in modern America with hope, success and determination. proud of their Cherokee roots and cultural legacy. Our feeling is admiration just as much as excitement: how could it be otherwise?

Why did you choose the Smoky Mountains for your first US attraction?
During the past year, we’ve carefully screened the USA for the next step of our international expansion. It became clear to us that South-East America, and especially the Great Smoky Mountains area could be a perfect fit for us. The natural beauty of the countryside, the legendary southern hospitality, the sense of community combined with a booming tourist destination and great support from local authorities set the stage for our first flag in America.

What do you see as the biggest challenges of developing the Puy du Fou experience for the US market?
The biggest challenge for us is to become genuinely American in our hearts and minds, in order to understand what will move our future audience, trigger their curiosity and incite them to come and visit us. This is an exciting challenge which is also our signature: we don’t replicate our creations everywhere in the world. We adapt them to the local culture, where we create what we call ‘rooted entertainment’.

What are the biggest opportunities of expanding into the US?
The USA is THE country for entertainment. We’ve been coming here every year for 40 years and we’re still fascinated by the depth of the market and its perpetual evolution.

Moreover, the experts of the American entertainment industry were the first to recognise our uniqueness – in Los Angeles in 2012 (Thea Award for Best Park in the World) and in Orlando in 2014 (IAAPA Applause Award for Best Park in the World), thus paving the way for our international fame.

It’s now time for us to bring Puy du Fou to our American friends: there are so many beautiful stories to tell in this country where experiences such ours don’t exist yet.

Are you looking for opportunities elsewhere in the US?
Right now, our main goal is to create this first show. It’s likely to be just the start of our American adventure, though.

What else are you currently working on?
We’re following our strategy of ‘perpetual creation’ in order to densify our offer in our parks in France and Spain: here, new creations will soon open their gates to the public.

Our teams are also developing a great immersive show in Shanghai, which will be unveiled before the end of the year.

In parallel, we’ve launched our own train experience: Le Grand Tour – a 4,000km tour of France’s magnificent treasures, lasting six days and five nights.

We’ve also created Puy du Fou Films, a movie production company which will extend the Puy du Fou brand from stage to screen, telling beautiful and epic stories for international audiences. A first drama, The Last Bandit, will be released early next year.

Nicolas de Villiers says Puy du Fou has “carefully screened the US for the next stage of our expansion” Credit: Photo: stephane audran/puy du fou
Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (centre wearing navy shirt), during a visit to Puy du Fou France in 2021 Credit: Photo: PUY DU FOU
COMPANY PROFILES
Triotech

Triotech was established in 1999. The company is based in Montreal, Canada and has additional offi [more...]
ProSlide Technology, Inc.

A former national ski team racer, ProSlide® CEO Rick Hunter’s goal has been to integrate the smoot [more...]
QubicaAMF UK

QubicaAMF is the largest and most innovative bowling equipment provider with 600 employees worldwi [more...]
FORREC Ltd

We create guest experiences others don’t, masterplan like no one else can, and give the world’s bi [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Attractions industry to reunite this September at IAAPA Expo Europe in London
For the first time in more than a decade, industry leaders from across the global attractions industry will once again gather in London as part of the annual IAAPA Expo Europe, the sector’s premier international event. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion TV - Opening Event: FICO Eataly World
Last July 7th, Red Raion took part in the opening event of FICO Eataly World, the Italian theme park dedicated to food - the only one worldwide! Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
IAAPA Expo Europe Promo – International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
Keynote | Moby Dick - Friends to the rescue! – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

27-29 Sep 2022

International Congress on Thermal Tourism

Ourense, Ourense, Spain
13 Oct 2022

VAC 2022

The ICC Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
LATEST ISSUES
+ View Magazine Archive

Attractions Management

Issue 2 Volume 27


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

Issue 1 Volume 27


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

Issue 4 Volume 26


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management

2021 issue 3


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Management News

06 Apr 2020 issue 153


View on turning pages
Download PDF
View archive
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription

Attractions Handbook

2019


View issue contents
View on turning pages
Download PDF
FREE digital subscription
Print subscription
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022
Jobs    News   Products   Magazine
People
Nicolas de Villiers

The biggest challenge for us is to become genuinely American in our hearts and minds, in order to understand what will move our future audience


Puy du Fou is set to enter the US attractions market with its iconic, immersive themed visitor experience, after securing a partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI).

The EBCI Tribal Council has approved plans to provide US$75m worth of funding for phase 1 of The Gateway to Adventure project in Sevierville, Tennessee.

The Puy du Fou element will be a major part of the 200-acre development, located at the start of the Smoky Mountains. According to EBCI, the US’ first Puy du Fou will be a fully immersive walk-through show inspired by an “authentic and heartbreaking Cherokee story” of their heroism in World War 1.

As well as Puy du Fou, The Gateway to Adventure project will feature the world’s largest Buc-ee’s Family Travel Center, as well as shops, restaurants, other themed experiences, parks and hotels.

Here Nicolas de Villiers, chairman and artistic director of Puy du Fou, speaks exclusively to Attractions Management about this exciting project.

How did your partnership with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians come about?
Thanks to Matthew Cross, founder of consultancy and development company OE Experiences, we crossed paths with the EBCI, who were looking for diversification by creating a family destination in Sevier County. Puy du Fou is a celebration of history and cultural roots; we mainly deal with stories inspired by history. EBCI wanted an original show with a new brand able to bring a new concept to this region. EBCI has been very open to the ideas Puy du Fou has presented; as such, this partnership makes perfect sense.

What will the show involve?
This immersive experience will be a deep dive into an authentic and breathtaking history – the story of the Cherokee volunteers who fought alongside American boys for their country and for freedom during the First World War. This story is little-known and will pay a deserved tribute to these heroes. From the Appalachian foothills to the French battlefields, our spectators of all ages will embark on an epic journey that will transform them.

What excites you and the team most about telling this story about the Cherokee Indians?
For us, each new meeting is an opportunity to discover another culture, another history, another perspective on our world. We’ve been touched by the glorious and suffering history of the Cherokees; there are some similarities with our history, here in western France. We’ve witnessed them making their path in modern America with hope, success and determination. proud of their Cherokee roots and cultural legacy. Our feeling is admiration just as much as excitement: how could it be otherwise?

Why did you choose the Smoky Mountains for your first US attraction?
During the past year, we’ve carefully screened the USA for the next step of our international expansion. It became clear to us that South-East America, and especially the Great Smoky Mountains area could be a perfect fit for us. The natural beauty of the countryside, the legendary southern hospitality, the sense of community combined with a booming tourist destination and great support from local authorities set the stage for our first flag in America.

What do you see as the biggest challenges of developing the Puy du Fou experience for the US market?
The biggest challenge for us is to become genuinely American in our hearts and minds, in order to understand what will move our future audience, trigger their curiosity and incite them to come and visit us. This is an exciting challenge which is also our signature: we don’t replicate our creations everywhere in the world. We adapt them to the local culture, where we create what we call ‘rooted entertainment’.

What are the biggest opportunities of expanding into the US?
The USA is THE country for entertainment. We’ve been coming here every year for 40 years and we’re still fascinated by the depth of the market and its perpetual evolution.

Moreover, the experts of the American entertainment industry were the first to recognise our uniqueness – in Los Angeles in 2012 (Thea Award for Best Park in the World) and in Orlando in 2014 (IAAPA Applause Award for Best Park in the World), thus paving the way for our international fame.

It’s now time for us to bring Puy du Fou to our American friends: there are so many beautiful stories to tell in this country where experiences such ours don’t exist yet.

Are you looking for opportunities elsewhere in the US?
Right now, our main goal is to create this first show. It’s likely to be just the start of our American adventure, though.

What else are you currently working on?
We’re following our strategy of ‘perpetual creation’ in order to densify our offer in our parks in France and Spain: here, new creations will soon open their gates to the public.

Our teams are also developing a great immersive show in Shanghai, which will be unveiled before the end of the year.

In parallel, we’ve launched our own train experience: Le Grand Tour – a 4,000km tour of France’s magnificent treasures, lasting six days and five nights.

We’ve also created Puy du Fou Films, a movie production company which will extend the Puy du Fou brand from stage to screen, telling beautiful and epic stories for international audiences. A first drama, The Last Bandit, will be released early next year.

Nicolas de Villiers says Puy du Fou has “carefully screened the US for the next stage of our expansion” Credit: Photo: stephane audran/puy du fou
Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (centre wearing navy shirt), during a visit to Puy du Fou France in 2021 Credit: Photo: PUY DU FOU
LATEST NEWS
Queen Elizabeth II to be commemorated by Thames' Illuminated River
Illuminated River, described as the world’s longest public artwork, will be lit in commemoration of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, Elizabeth II.
Brad Pitt makes debut as sculptor at Finnish art museum
Hollywood superstar, Brad Pitt, has made his debut as a sculptor as part of British artist Thomas Houseago’s first ever exhibition in the Nordic countries.
World's longest and 'technologically advanced' zipline planned for Iceland
A 1km-long zipline offering riders speeds of 120km/h is set to open in Iceland later this year.
Triotech secures deal to supply rides for Puy Du Fou Asia's first Chinese attraction
Triotech has secured a deal to supply its interactive ride technology for the SAGA Experience, an immersive attraction being developed in the heart of Shanghai, China, by Puy du Fou Asia.
Tangled attraction among new additions revealed for Disneyland Paris Resort
A Tangled-themed family ride is among a range of new attractions revealed for the Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris Resort, France.
Merlin takes over operations at UK's largest indoor waterpark
Merlin Entertainments has secured a contract to operate Blackpool Sandcastle, the UK's largest indoor waterpark.
HBG Design behind Michigan’s six-storey Aquadome inspired by the sun’s path across the sky
Hospitality and entertainment design firm HBG Design is helming the design of Michigan's new Gun Lake Casino Resort Aquadome – a glass-roofed, climate-controlled, indoor landscaped pool and event centre atrium environment.
IAAPA recognition for Blackpool Pleasure Beach to mark century-old relationship
Blackpool Pleasure Beach will be honoured at the IAAPA Expo Europe, being held in London later this month.
Preparations for construction of £250m Therme Manchester project get underway
Plans to start work on the UK’s first city-based wellbeing resort, Therme Manchester, at TraffordCity have progressed this week with preparations to clear the current site.
Merlin to open Legoland Resort in Belgium by 2027
Merlin Entertainments Group has revealed plans for a new Legoland theme park near Charleroi Airport in Belgium.
First images released for Merlin's Jumanji land at Chessington
Visuals have been released for the new Jumanji-themed land at Chessington World of Adventures in London, UK, which is set to open to the public in 2023.
Universal's Epic Universe set to open in 2025
Building work on Universal's Epic Universe – a new theme park at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, US – is advancing and the park is set to open to visitors in 2025.
+ More news   
 
COMPANY PROFILES
Triotech

Triotech was established in 1999. The company is based in Montreal, Canada and has additional offi [more...]
ProSlide Technology, Inc.

A former national ski team racer, ProSlide® CEO Rick Hunter’s goal has been to integrate the smoot [more...]
QubicaAMF UK

QubicaAMF is the largest and most innovative bowling equipment provider with 600 employees worldwi [more...]
FORREC Ltd

We create guest experiences others don’t, masterplan like no one else can, and give the world’s bi [more...]
+ More profiles  
FEATURED SUPPLIER

Attractions industry to reunite this September at IAAPA Expo Europe in London
For the first time in more than a decade, industry leaders from across the global attractions industry will once again gather in London as part of the annual IAAPA Expo Europe, the sector’s premier international event. [more...]
VIDEO GALLERY

Red Raion TV - Opening Event: FICO Eataly World
Last July 7th, Red Raion took part in the opening event of FICO Eataly World, the Italian theme park dedicated to food - the only one worldwide! Find out more...
More videos:
Red Raion Showreel 2021 – Red Raion
IAAPA Expo Europe Promo – International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
Keynote | Moby Dick - Friends to the rescue! – Red Raion
+ More videos  

CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  
DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

27-29 Sep 2022

International Congress on Thermal Tourism

Ourense, Ourense, Spain
13 Oct 2022

VAC 2022

The ICC Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2022

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
ATTRACTIONS MANAGEMENT NEWS
ATTRACTIONS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS