Tourism and SSE

Kit departementalESS N°9

June 2021

Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)

In connection with the renewal of departmental and regional executives in June 2021, the RTES is proposing a DepartmentalESS kit to raise awareness among candidates and provide tools for future teams wishing to support the social and solidarity economy (SSE).

This kit will include about twenty practical sheets, based on the principle of the MunicipalESS Kit published in 2020, illustrated with examples, and presenting in a synthetic and concrete way how a regional council can include the SSE in its policies.

Sheet No. 9 deals with tourism

The demand for tourism is changing. Today, many travellers are looking for a more direct and authentic contact with the territories. They want to meet local people and their initiatives and are part of a more ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism. According to a 2018 global survey, 87% of tourists say they are attentive to the impact of their holidays on the environment and the countries that host them.

As a responsible economy, the social and solidarity economy is in a position to respond to this societal demand; as an economy anchored in its « country », it is concerned with enhancing and preserving the added value of the tourism activity locally. It thus contributes to the attractiveness of the territories. This is why the departments have every interest in supporting this « tourism made in SSE ».

Competence Tourism is a shared competence: « The State, the regions, the departments and the municipalities are competent in the field of tourism and exercise these competences in cooperation and in a coordinated manner » (Article L111-1 of the Tourism Code). The department can create a Departmental Tourism Committee (CDT), which prepares and implements the department’s tourism policy, in conjunction with the other territorial authorities.

Several possible levers of action:

Helping SSE actors who promote the territory to pool and qualify their offer

The department can identify actions that come from the field, based on the territory’s assets to turn them into real resources (visits, purchase of locally produced products, etc.). It can support their networking: themed routes, walking, cycling or car tours, networks of craftsmen or museums, etc., are tools which, by pooling or grouping them together, highlight initiatives which, on their own, would not have the same appeal.

The department can encourage actors to qualify by adopting specific labels such as those set up by the ATES (Association pour un tourisme équitable et solidaire) or by the ATR (Agir pour un tourisme responsable) or by adhering to the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism.

A tourism Scic at the service of the territories

The Scic Apidae Tourisme is a national network of tourism actors created in 2004 and transformed into a Scic in 2020. Its platform is a real « data warehouse », used to manage tourist information in a collaborative manner for all the territories covered by the project and to put the various players in touch with each other. More than 2,500 projects rely on it and the Scic has nearly 200 members, including the Puy-de-Dôme department and several other local authorities.

Promoting eco-responsible and citizen-based initiatives

Residents are often the best ambassadors for their region. The Department can encourage them by supporting their associations. The departmental tourism committees can put their resources at their service by publishing a guide listing these initiatives, by organising meetings between local tourism players, by proposing visits between sites so that they can get to know each other better and redirect visitors to each other.

Accueil Banlieues in Seine-Saint-Denis

Supported by the Department, the Accueil Banlieues association is made up of residents of Seine-Saint-Denis who host visitors in their homes.

Saint-Denis who welcome visitors to the Paris region into their homes. Inspired by the Accueil Paysans approach, the members of Accueil Banlieues encourage exchanges and thus contribute to changing the image of their neighbourhoods.

Using the various SSE tools adapted to local development

The association, the Scic (cooperative society of collective interest) or local currencies are all SSE tools that meet the objectives of endogenous development that enhances the richness of a territory and helps to maintain added value on site.

An integration hotel

Zazie Hôtel is the first Parisian tourist hotel to be approved as a social utility enterprise for integration through economic activity. The Zazie employs people in difficulty all year round.

Destination Lot- et-Garonne and its associations

Tourism is at the heart of the economy of many departments. This is the case of Lot- et-Garonne. Among the players supported by the Department are associations that liven up villages in the summer with local festivals, concerts and farmers’ markets, associations that hire out bicycles, organise hikes, cultural visits and heritage discovery tours…. and that are listed on the website

Helping the most vulnerable populations to leave by relying on SSE actors

By working with holiday organisations that offer holidays for all, such as the structures federated within the UNAT (National Union of Tourism Associations), by providing financial support to help low-income children and families go on holiday, and by supporting leisure centres and youth hostels in the département, the département also supports a form of local and social tourism. A genuine departmental tourism ecosystem can be maintained for the benefit of the region’s inhabitants, for local tourism.

Solidarity and local tourism in Haute-Garonne

In 2020, the Haute-Garonne Departmental Council set up new tourist offers to encourage the people of Haute-Garonne to practice local and solidarity tourism in their department, such as, for example, a 31 € solidarity voucher as part of a « Carnet de voyages en Haute-Garonne ».

These measures, prompted by the effects of the Covid epidemic, reflect choices that go beyond this time of crisis.

The Friends of the Masgot Stone

In Creuse, the village of Masgot, dedicated to stone cutting, is typical for its ancient sculptures created by François Michaud in the 19th century. This essential site strengthens the local attractiveness and economy thanks to the visits, stone-cutting courses and events organised there throughout the year by the association of the Friends of Masgot Stone. The Department supports the association through an annual operating grant.

To go further

  • Two webinars Participatory tourism, local currencies and SSE, from the Institute of Local Currencies, December 2020 - Social tourism and collective entrepreneurship, a conference by Eric Forti, 2017

  • Focus on social and solidarity tourism and SSE in PACA, CRESS / UNAT PACA, 2015.