The most publicized action was the limitation for the first time this summer of the attendance of two coves in the creeks of Marseille by compulsory reservations. But with the recovery of tourism which is gradually returning to its 2019 levels, before the pandemic, several sites have been faced with an influx of tourists deemed unmanageable, and are implementing techniques to deal with it that we thought until now. here reserved for cities like Venice or Barcelona.
Tourist guides, cinematographic successes, influence of social networks, the causes of the overcrowding, sometimes ephemeral, of certain sites are multiple. To deal with this “overtourism”, “there are two solutions”, explains to AFP the anthropologist Jean-Didier Urbain, “prohibition or regulation”.
The pure and simple prohibition of a site like Maya Bay in Thailand, victim of the success of the film “The beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio, is not yet on the agenda for the moment in France. where tourist sites are eyeing more regulation.
This can take different aspects, according to Jean-Didier Urbain. There is the reservation system, as in the Calanques. “Museums were the first to adopt this type of regulation”, he underlines, “it becomes part of our customs, we are moving towards this kind of thing”.
Compagnie des Alpes, owner of the Parc Astérix or Futuroscope in particular, “is experimenting on (its) parks abroad” with compulsory reservations to manage flows while its French parks have experienced growth this summer of 20% compared to to 2019, explains to AFP François Fassier, director of the parks of the Compagnie des Alpes.
Regulation can also take the form of quotas. The island of Porquerolles in the Var has established since July 2021 a gauge of 6,000 visitors per day. The island of Bréhat in the Côtes d’Armor, which welcomes some summer days on its 3 km² over 5,000 people for 400 inhabitants, has not yet established quotas but has decided to count its visitors and measure their impact this summer, according to the Telegram.
– Methods of deterrence –
“There is also deterrence with the new term demarketing, a discourse which advises against coming on such and such a day”, or even not coming at all, adds Jean-Didier Urbain. The site of the town hall of Bréhat thus warns of busy days.
The town of Crozon (Finistère) has 7,600 inhabitants in winter, but 30,000 in summer and tries, in vain, to dissuade tourists from going to a small cove touted as one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, and now closed to the public. Mayor Patrick Berthelot, had told AFP in 2021 to now do “counter-advertising” for the beach.
Another solution: “dispersion” with “a deconcentration in space by multiplying the places of attraction or a deconcentration in time”, explains the anthropologist, pointing out that “some cities are even considering night tourism”.
The Compagnie des Alpes parks “are becoming less and less seasonal”, “we go through the extension of the season”, according to Mr. Fassier.
The Network of Great Sites of France, which brings together tourist areas such as Mont-Saint Michel, the Dune du Pilat or the cliffs of Etretat, thus communicates on the “off-season” or even develops parallel circuits as in Cantal where “five Maisons de Site” have been opened to “offer visitors the possibility of a wider discovery of the valleys of the Massif and the department, thus avoiding crystallizing attendance on the Pas de Peyrol”.