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Tramp tower Chaplin’s World proves a hit with foreign visitors

View inside the mock-up of a Hollywood studio at Chaplin's World museum above Vevey, Switzerland

(Keystone)

Since opening last April, 300,000 people from 75 different countries have visited a museum near Lake Geneva dedicated to the life and work of filmmaker Charlie Chaplin.

The Chaplin’s World museum, located in Corsier-sur-Vevey, opened with a huge fanfare on April 16, 2016 after 15 years’ planning and preparation. Since then 300,000 visitors from 75 different countries have wandered through his Manoir de Ban former home and mock-up Hollywood studio.

“Without a doubt the opening of the museum is partly responsible for the 7% rise in overnight stays in the Montreux Riviera region,” declared Christoph Sturny, director of Montreux-Vevey Tourism Office on Tuesday.

This year on April 16 – Chaplin’s birthday and the first year anniversary of Chaplin’s World – the museum organisers are throwing a big party. They also want to break the world record for the largest gathering of Chaplin lookalikes. Visitors are encouraged to attend with cane, bowler hat and moustache.

The immersive museum has won several prizes since it opened. Last November it won third place in the "Milestone Excellence in Tourism" Innovation category. It was nominated for a British Guild of Travel Writers Award and for a Swiss MICE award in the ‘Special Location’ category.

Chaplin’s World is set on the huge grounds of the Manoir de Ban built in 1840 above Vevey in canton Vaud, where Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life. He died there at the age of 88 in 1977. With spectacular views of the lake and Alps, the refurbished former family home where he lived with his wife Oona and their eight children, is just half of the museum focusing on the comic legend’s private life.

A new building has been built nearby as a mock-up of a Hollywood studio focusing on Chaplin’s movie work, which began in 1914. Walking through the 16-metre-high studio, fans can learn about Chaplin’s early humble beginnings in London and his meteoric rise to become one of the biggest names in the film industry at only 26. The studio is completed with endless clips from his films, interactive exhibits and multimedia installations and a 150-seat cinema. Chaplin's World also features 30 wax figures created by the Grevin wax museum in Paris.

The museum project, which has cost at least CHF60 million ($62 million), took over 15 years to come to fruition after facing numerous stumbling blocks and planning hold-ups.

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