PARIS.- With the resumption of tourism, France launched initiatives to avoid the saturation of the favorite places of travelers, such as the obligation to reserve at points along the coast, the imposition of daily quotas for visitors or even “anti-advertising”.
The most mediated action was the limitation for the first time this summer of the frequency of the Calanques de Marseille in the Mediterranean, a place of privileged marine biodiversity, through compulsory reservations.
With tourism slowly recovering its 2019 levels, several sites face a uncontrollable flow of visitors and they apply techniques that until now were thought to be reserved for cities like Venice or Barcelona.
The sometimes fleeting success of some places was propelled by tour guides, popular movies and influencers.
To face the “exaggerated tourism” There are “two solutions,” anthropologist Jean-Didier Urbain tells AFP: “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 in France.
Meanwhile, the regulation it can take different forms, starting with mandatory reserves. “Museums were the first to adopt this type of regulation”, underlines Urbain. “And this is getting into customs, we’re heading into this kind of thing.”
The Alps Company, owner of the Asterix and Futuroscope amusement parks, is testing in its parks abroad the compulsory reservation system, while France has seen a 20% increase in influx this year compared to 2019, its director Francois Fassier told AFP.
Regulation can also be done in the form of dues.
The island of pork rolls, in the south of France, established from July 2021 a limit of 6000 daily visitors.
The island of Brehatin Brittany (northwest), which receives more than 5,000 people on certain summer days in its 3 square kilometers when it only has 400 inhabitants in normal time, it has not yet established quotas but started counting its visitors and measuring its impact this summer.
“Deterrence is also practiced with the new term ‘demarketization’, which discourages going on certain days” somewhere, says Jean-Didier Urbain.
The municipality of Crozonalso in Brittany, it has 7,600 inhabitants in winter but is home to 30,000 in summer and tries in vain to dissuade tourists from traveling to a cove considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe and which is now closed to the public. Mayor Patrick Berthelot said in 2021 that he does “anti-advertising” for the beach.
Another solution, he adds, is the “dispersion”, with “a spatial deconcentration that diversifies the places of attraction or temporary deconcentration”.
The Network of Great Sites of France, which brings together tourist spaces such as the Mount Saint Michael, promotes visits out of season and parallel circuits in other less crowded places.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) chose the theme “Rethinking Tourism” for its world day at the end of September. The entity notes a “strong rebound” in the sector in the first five months of the year, led by Europe, with a 350% increase in international arrivals compared to the same period in 2021, and America (+112%).