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These committed actors, forgotten by tourism

There are currently few tourism development plans that do not include an axis on sustainable tourism. At best, it infuses the entire strategy. The communication will then have to transcribe these intentions into messages. And the good news with responsible tourism is that it is not enough to affirm it for it to be.

Indeed, to be responsible, a tourist destination needs concrete actions. It begins with commitments within the structure, it is better to sweep in front of your door before going to preach the good word. Then come the socio-professional actors, some of whom did not wait for the new strategy to get involved. Finally, we can act on customer awareness, such as the issue of waste, sensitive sites and why not mobility (which, as a reminder, accounts for 77% of CO2 emissions from tourism).

But other actors, very committed, too often remain on the sidelines of the action plans and communication media of the DMOs: associations or Non-Governmental Organizations, which are nevertheless major actors in the territories on the subjects of environmental protection or social causes in particular.

Finding the balance between commitment and activism

Visualization of the crossing of the nine planetary boundaries, updated with the addition of “new entities” or “new substances” © Stockholm Resilience Center / Translation by Vert

This infographic, a French translation of the work of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, shows that we are already crossing several planetary limits, quite simply threatening our existence. The stakes of our time are vertiginous while these subjects occupy only a small place in the media space. And what about the time granted to the subject on the current political sequence.

Thereby, civic engagement becomes essential. Long reserved for militants, the commitment seems to find its letters of nobility with a greater number. The new generations in particular want to translate their concerns into action.

Of course, eco-volunteering and participatory science have long been able to find their audience. The Cybelle Planète association, for example, offers to embark on a sailboat for several days in order to identify and note the observations of whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other animals…

Dedicating a week, a month or a year to a cause requires a strong commitment that is not accessible to everyone. But the DMOs have the means to make this commitment accessible to their inhabitants as well as to their visitors who would like to devote 1 hour or half a day to help clean the bed of a river or to identify the presence of a migratory bird. on the territory.

Identify local actors and actions

The foundation for nature and man administers a particularly well-made site which lists throughout France the activities undertaken near a place. On, you can find in a few requests outdoor activities to help protect the environment.

Example with the participatory science project Spipoll which aims to study pollination networks. The mission is simple, all you have to do is observe the flowers and photograph the insects for 20 minutes, then send the photos to the site dedicated to the operation. A fun and very accessible activity that can be done anywhere in France.

Another idea, do an eco-jog. Concept that consists of picking up some waste found during your run. And why not reference all this on the RUN ECO TEAM application.

On the Pouydesseaux side in the Landes, the Alca Torda care center treats more than 800 animals a year. The trainers welcome volunteers to assist them in their daily missions such as caring for the animals, preparing food rations or cleaning the cages.

Better known to the general public, the Surfrider Foundation or Mountain Riders associations regularly coordinate waste collection sequences. It is even possible to organize pick-ups on its territory.

The bird protection league via its various regional branches regularly calls on volunteers for bird watching, counting or even wildlife care missions.

Other approaches, more event-driven, are also interesting, such as Le Jour de la Nuit. A national operation to raise awareness of light pollution and the protection of nocturnal biodiversity and the starry sky. Coordinated by Agir pour l’Environnement, the Day of the Night is an opportunity to observe the sky and rediscover our relationship to the night thanks to the hundreds of light extinctions and awareness-raising events that take place during one evening each year.

One could cite hundreds of other initiatives of this type which, I am convinced, find their place in the offer of a tourist destination. It is still necessary to accept not to put the dust under the carpet and to assume for example the usefulness of a collection of waste on its territory. These activities are often free, fun, educational and rewardingthey respond on many points to the requests of visitors to the territories.

Some have already passed the course, and we see this type of activity appearing here and there on the sites of Tourist Offices.

Is this your case? Do not hesitate to point it out in the comments of this article.

First step, map and make contact

The work of identifying and mapping the responsible tourism offer in a territory is tedious but essential. Listing the certified service providers is a first step, but this does not allow a complete mapping of the offer. Other actors, committed but not labeled, also make up this offer. Finally, the census of these local associative actors makes it possible to complete this census of the actors involved.

For eco-volunteering missions, it is better to start by contacting the structures to ensure that they will be able to receive novices. It will also be necessary to make visitors aware of the reality of the missions in order to avoid false promises and possible frustrations.

Is there really a demand for these topics?

Studies on French people’s intentions to stay reveal desires for relaxation and idleness, but also desires to reconnect with nature and give meaning to their stay.

This is what the study carried out by Tourisme Bretagne in partnership with ADN tourisme, the National UNAT and 10 regional unions as well as 11 regional tourism committees on The new aspirations of the French in terms of holidays.

Excerpt from the study “New aspirations
of the French in matters
holiday »

As for online searches, Google notes an increase in queries on climate change, significantly (+90%) for Internet queries on the IPCC. In a study conducted by Google among Internet users, 82% say that sustainable development is a higher priority than before the crisis, 83% say sustainable tourism is vital. Finally, searches for “eco-responsible stays” increased by +142% between 2021 and 2022.

Demand has never been so strong on all these subjects, DMOs are more than ever involved in responsible tourism and the offer is growing day by day. All that remains is to coordinateand not to forget anyone on the way because every action counts.

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