The prominent French tourism companies gathered in the Alliance France Tourism think-tank are tackling a phenomenon that has been criticized.
In tourism, hypertelorism, over-tourism, overcrowding, or "tourism phobia" are all terms used to describe a perceived or real saturation of sites that leads to conflict and rejection. What can be done to limit or even eliminate them?
The Alliance Française du Tourisme, the association of prominent French tourism companies, wanted to take a pragmatic view of the fight against the real or perceived evils of "over-tourism" or tourism in general. In a recently published study, the group studied the social, economic, cultural, and environmental consequences of tourist overcrowding that persist over time.
The French Tourism Alliance has developed 10 suggestions to regulate over-tourism and establish a sustainable growth plan that aligns with the French tourism approach through appropriate regulations:
- To improve public tourism policies, it's important to have a unified, participatory, and inclusive governance approach. This can be achieved by creating structures in each destination that facilitate dialogue between local authorities, professionals, and residents. This dialogue should focus on the impact of tourism development and finding solutions to any issues that arise.
- Local and national regulations should be established to ensure that all respect the French tourism model, considering the destination's "carrying capacity." This can be achieved by utilizing big data, new technologies, and modern monitoring tools to keep track of tourist flows.
- To effectively utilize foresight methodology, it is recommended to implement strategies near the territories. These strategies should be coordinated at the national level and include quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure the overall impact of tourism on the destination and its population. Decentralizing flows and structuring a global offer of integrated services in the territories can greatly benefit the local population.
- To improve tourism, consider redistributing flows throughout the area by creating new tourist destinations and itineraries with a strong territorial focus. This can be accomplished by enhancing accommodations, dining options, and overall services at the destination. Additionally, improving mobility and connectivity will help to speed up this process.
- We can better enhance customer experiences by segmenting and targeting tourist groups or incorporating new technologies like augmented reality to provide travelers with more informative experiences.
- One way to promote responsible tourism is by offering experiential and event-based activities that benefit locals and tourists. This can also involve providing locals with free entry, reduced rates, special permits, or access passes to tourist sites, helping them reclaim their spaces. Additionally, it is important to manage tourism flows throughout the year and adjust for seasonal changes.
- To balance the number of tourists throughout the year, it is important to de-seasonalize tourism. This can be achieved by promoting off-season activities and experiences, organizing events during the off-season, or adjusting prices to encourage visits during less popular times. By doing so, the flow of tourists can be evenly distributed over time.
- To ensure better economic predictability and legal certainty for entrepreneurs and investors, a body for reflection and consultation should be established between the Ministry of Education and the tourism sector. This body aims to coordinate school holiday dates with seasonality, thus achieving optimal results for both parties. Raise awareness among the population of the benefits of developing tourism activities and among tourists of the impact of tourism on the territory.
- To foster better relationships between host communities and tourists, the tourism sector and public authorities must communicate more effectively about tourism's positive economic, social, and cultural impacts.
- We aim to educate tourists, social networks, and stakeholders about the negative effects of over-tourism on local traditions and regulations. We plan to achieve this through communication campaigns, codes of conduct, and the promotion of reflective tourism.