Experiential tourism: Which is better: Visiting or experiencing a place?

Experiential tourism allows us not only to visit a place, but also to live and understand it

Pazo Baión is a space for experiential wine tourism, where people can experience a universe full of nature, history, and wines with all five senses

«We think too much and feel too little», said Charles Chaplin in the final speech of The Great Dictator. We often neglect our feelings when, in fact, they are at the center of our lives and accompany us all the time. Emotions are present in how we work and relate to others… and spaces. For this reason, in recent years, many projects have been launched that are committed to experiential tourism, in which the important thing is not to visit a place but to live it and immerse oneself in it to create experiences that accompany us for life and provoke beautiful feelings.

One of those experiential tourism destinations is Pazo Baión, a property with five centuries of life that offers different plans for all the people who enter this small universe to experience comforting and pleasurable sensations and feelings.

When Condes de Albarei acquired Pazo Baión 15 years ago, it was clear that it wanted to launch a cutting-edge winery and a wine tourism project in the Rías Baixas, articulated around the ideas of experiential tourism. That is a space in which visitors were not just that. Still, by immersing themselves in the environment, they could know what it is like, what work is done on the property, and what is the history of an estate with 500 years of life and be transformed by that experience.

As a result of this commitment to experiential wine tourism, Pazo Baión currently has four different plans designed so that people can discover the overflowing nature of our property, learn first-hand about its history and learn all about the production of Albariño wines. Four plans are designed to be experienced with all five senses. And in particular, sight, smell, and taste are the three senses involved in wine tasting.

Below, we will tell you what experiential tourism is, why it is increasingly important, and how we offer wine tourism experiences at Pazo Baión to all who dare to cross the entrance of our property.

What is experiential tourism?

Experiential tourism is a type of tourism practice that values the emotions that people feel when they travel to a place, the learning that they accumulate during the process, the knowledge that is acquired, and the memories that are generated.

As opposed to passive tourism, such as classic sun and beach tourism, experiential tourism advocates proactivity; people do not travel to a place to sit still and soak up the sun but travel around it, talk to other people, learn new things, and come to understand the peculiarities of the place they are in.

On the other hand, experiential tourism also differs from an increasingly common tourist practice, significantly since communications have improved and social networks have exploded: checklist tourism. In other words, touring a place as if it were a circuit in which you have to reach specific iconic points (monuments, museums, emblematic spaces…), take a photo, and run to the next one. All this while you are competing in a gymkhana with thousands of tourists who want to do the same.

Both passive and checklist tourism are simple approaches to places and, therefore, do not create significant relationships or memorable memories with the environment and the people who are part of it. Whereas experiential tourism aims to do just that, to help people share magical moments with their loved ones, open their minds to new experiences and write memories that will stay with them throughout their lives. All while not only respecting the environment but coming to understand it and appreciate its nuances.

Pazo Baión is a space for experiential tourism, focused on transmitting the culture of wine to the people who come to it

Accidental tourist or experiential tourist?

The protagonist of the film The Accidental Tourist is a journalist dedicated to making travel guides for business people, a kind of tourism, as the name of the film itself indicates, accidental, subsidiary to the essential activity: work. Many people travel with the sole mission of sightseeing, but their passage through the places they visit also seems accidental, light, and unimportant.

Who has not gone to a city or a town and left with the feeling that they have not discovered anything about the place they have been to? What sense does this generate? A kind of emptiness?

In contrast, experiential tourism has nothing accidental about it; it is, in itself, a journey into the heart of a place, its culture, its history, and the way of being of its inhabitants. Experiential tourism seeks that a person leaves a place having learned something new, having discovered something unknown to them, and having felt that they were in a particular area. All this generates a feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction that will impregnate the memories of the place.

Escape from the tourist crowds to enjoy the environment

If you have traveled in recent years, you will have noticed a phenomenon that already affects the most touristy places profoundly: overcrowding. The queues to visit the most iconic monuments or museums are endless, the struggle to find a good restaurant is fierce, and booking accommodation is a titanic task.

Improved communications have made travel cheaper and more accessible. Today, millions of people can go sightseeing. And this is great because discovering new places feeds our knowledge and soul, but visiting an area surrounded by thousands of people undoubtedly detracts from the experience. The overcrowding of iconic cities such as Venice, Bruges, Lisbon, and Budapest has meant that more and more people want to visit natural spaces where thousands of people are not swirling around, preventing them from enjoying the environment in peace.

Experiential tourism thus emerges as a model in direct opposition to mass tourism. A commitment to build a transcendent relationship between the place and the person who discovers it. Another way of traveling is more sustainable and meaningful.

Building shared experiences instead of giving objects as gifts

Another reason that has led to the consolidation of experiential tourism is directly linked to how we consume and accumulate products and goods.

Who only has a few things at home that they don’t need, use, or value? In addition to the fact that we often buy objects irrationally, the truth is that many of the gifts we receive are not goods we will take advantage of. This added to the fact that nowadays we have everything at our fingertips, has led many people to prefer not to give gifts to their loved ones. What is the alternative? Sharing experiences that allow people to build memories together and, above all, enjoy quality time.

Precisely, in today’s fast-paced world, where our agendas are filled with events, experiential tourism advocates value the environment and the time spent discovering it.

The phrase «time is money» is more valid today than ever. Experiential tourism seeks that the time spent getting to know a place and enjoying it is precious and serves to feed our souls and help us disconnect from daily routines.

Suppose checklist tourism is based on the frenzy of moving from one place to another in the hunt for icons. In that case, experiential tourism seeks to make us stop for a moment to appreciate and value what surrounds us to extract knowledge and lessons that we did not know before.

The paradigm shift is radical.

Using the five senses to see beyond

When we think about traveling, we become obsessed with what we want to see, understood in its most superficial sense: “to perceive something with our eyes through the action of light.” Especially since the advent of social networks, what does this mean? We are ready to enjoy places only through the sense of sight, often mediated by a smartphone’s camera. This means that we only experience tourist destinations with some of our feelings.

In other words, we mutilate the experience of getting to know a new place. The aromas of a vineyard in full splendor, the sounds of flora and fauna, the taste of local products, the touch of a blade of grass, or a century-old wall… Through all the senses, we obtain information about the environment, which transforms our experience and is fixed in our memories.

Experiential tourism seeks to enable a person to travel to a place and see it more deeply, in line with the second meaning of the verb ver in the RAE Dictionary: “to perceive something with the intelligence, to understand it.”

Precisely, to understand a place and perceive it in all its greatness, it is essential to use all our senses in it. For this reason, experiential tourism is also a sensitive tourism.

The famous Stendhal Syndrome, which describes Florence’s overwhelming impact on the renowned writer, does not originate from a superficial view of the city but from a total sensory experience in which emotions overwhelm the author and cause a shock.

We don’t want anyone to get this syndrome, but we wish we could all feel beautiful emotions when we find ourselves in a place that is not part of our daily life.

Betting on sustainable and wealth-generating tourism

When talking about experiential tourism, we should not only focus on the impact this practice has on those who enjoy it, i.e., the tourist but also on the impact it has on the environment they discover. The climate crisis has led us to question our way of living, consuming, working, and moving around and has also generated a debate about the prevailing tourism model.

Mass tourism generates pollution and brings problems such as the management of mobility, resources such as water and energy, and waste processing. In this sense, experiential tourism goes hand in hand with another concept in vogue: sustainable tourism.

In this sense, it is not only the tourist’s experience that matters but also its impact on the environment and the lives of the people who are part of it. Experiential tourism is a form of quality tourism based on respect for the environment and local idiosyncrasies that seek to generate wealth in the environment and not problems.

For example, at Pazo Baión, we have designed experiential wine tourism plans that highlight the value of a dream environment, local raw materials, centuries-old tradition and history, and absolute respect for nature. The visits to our property have a limited capacity, do not consume resources, do not generate waste, and the products consumed are local, whether the Albariños from Pazo Baión and Condes de Albarei or the gastronomic delights offered as a pairing. This has allowed us to contribute to the generation of employment and wealth in O Salnés. At the same time, we discover to thousands of people every year all the magic hidden in a historic corner of Galicia.

Experiential tourism is about sharing memorable moments with the people you love and writing memories together

Pazo Baión, an oasis of experiential wine tourism in Rías Baixas

What we have just mentioned is a direct consequence of Pazo Baión’s commitment to experiential tourism. The four wine tourism routes that we offer to visitors are based on the following:

  • Activating the five senses
  • Generating emotions
  • Reconstructing a historical legacy
  • Sharing learning and knowledge about wine culture.
  • Helping people to immerse themselves in the soul of Albariño, from the roots of the vines to the tasting of our Rías Baixas.

To achieve this, our wine tourism plans in the Rías Baixas include:

  • A leisurely tour through the natural spaces of Pazo Baión: vineyards, gardens, paths between fruit trees, a centenary palm grove… Allowing people to delight in their sight and the rest of their senses.
  • A visit to the historic buildings of the property and, in particular, to the entrails of our winery to learn first-hand how tradition and innovation are combined.
  • A guided tasting of delicious Albariño wines to unravel all its charms through the visual, olfactory, and taste phases.

Everyone who enters our small universe will find a small oasis where time stands still, and emotions are at their peak. An ideal place to disconnect from the world’s noise and live with friends or family, a memorable wine tourism experience.

Please do not come to see Pazo Baión; come to feel it and live it.



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