Tourism and SSE

Kit RégionalESS N°7

June 2021

Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)

In connection with the renewal of regional executives in June 2021, RTES proposes a Regional SSE kit to raise awareness among candidates and provide tools for future regional 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. Sheets 1 and 2 of the RegionalESS kit are SSE presentation sheets. They can be consulted under the references Social and Solidarity Economy: What are we talking about? (fact sheet n°2504) and Why implement a cross-cutting policy to support the social and solidarity economy? (fact sheet n°2505).

Fact sheet 7 deals with tourism in relation to the SSE.

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 SSE is able 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 regions 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 coordination » (Article L111-1 of the Tourism Code). More specifically, the region draws up the objectives of regional tourism development through the regional tourism and leisure development plan, the coordination of which it entrusts to a Regional Tourism Committee (CRT). Within the framework of the State-Region Plan Contracts, Regional Tourism Observatories have been set up to gather information and carry out studies on tourism in their region.

Levers of action for regional councils :

Address tourism in a non-sectoral way by involving all stakeholders

Tiers-lieux Normandie

The PTCE of the Bouquetot eco-domain, in Calvados, brings together actors around sustainable development with, in particular, an eco-tourism angle made possible by a 60-hectare heritage park, visits to the agricultural and economic activities that take place there and accommodation in tree houses! It benefits from the « Tiers-lieux Normandie » label set up by the Region: « The purpose of these places is to increase the vitality of the territories and the emergence of new projects. 37 have already been labelled.

Encouraging collective territorial development projects

Travelling with a local currency

In the Basque Country, Eusko, the first European local currency, has set up « Vacances en eusko », a scheme that brings together numerous service providers who offer tourists the opportunity to pay for all their expenses in eusko. The New Aquitaine Region is working alongside the Eusko as part of its « Innovative Tourism in New Aquitaine » programme, in particular to support the implementation of the digital Eusko.

Ôkhra: a Scic + a PTCE

The PTCE Matières & Couleurs Lubéron-Provence, a network of some thirty structures, led by the Scic Ôkhra, promotes ochre and vegetable colours, bringing ancestral skills back into fashion. « If we want to keep this heritage alive, we must position it on the economic market. To do this, he has positioned himself in the tourist sector and receives 33,000 visitors each year: « Visitors come from all over the world and go home with these local products which are a part of the territory. » The Southern Region, a member of the Scic, financed the initiative first as a complement to State funding for PTCEs, then as part of its EIT (Industrial and Territorial Ecology) programme.

Supporting and backing citizen initiatives

Increasingly, tourists are looking for original experiences off the beaten track. This demand is matched by the desire of local people to share their town or country, and of local authorities to encourage a diffuse form of tourism that does not focus solely on the large, often overcrowded sites. This can concern rural areas, with the Accueil Paysan network for example, but also cities. In Marseille, the Hôtel du Nord cooperative offers a completely new experience: meeting the inhabitants of the city’s northern districts, which are reputed to be sulphurous, and introducing them to a different Marseille through walks, stays and accommodation with local people.

Supporting and encouraging mutualisation initiatives

The Region has a structuring role, via its regional tourism development plan, in supporting collective initiatives that create a stronger dynamic in tourism. It also has an important role to play in training players and supporting the digital transition.

The alliance of a Scop and an association

A pioneer in responsible travel since 1973, the Scop Ekitour defends the right and access to holidays for all. Adjacent to the Scop, the Ekitour Solidarity association sets up solidarity actions, accompanies and participates in the Scop’s outreach activities and leads « hospitality communities » in its region. A fruitful collaboration between the economic tool (the Scop) and the voluntary tool (the association) around the same militant project of social and solidarity tourism, supported by the New Aquitaine Region. The latter intervenes in particular within the framework of the national programme of aid for departures for seniors on holiday.

Tourism for all in the Grand Est

Created in 1989 as an association on the initiative of the Alsace Region, Terre d’Est is a tourism cooperative operating in the Grand Est Region, bringing together more than twenty accommodation centres. The Grand Est Region supports Terre d’Est today through an aid granted to UNAT Grand Est: Terre d’Est is the marketing tool of the social and solidarity tourism offer of the Grand Est Region, proposing holidays for all, in a spirit of solidarity and social mix.

A Scic platform

At the initiative of several cooperative tourism operators, the intermediation platform between offers and travellers « les Oiseaux de passage » was launched in June 2019. Under Scic status, it is intended to cover the whole world … even if for the moment it focuses on the Euro-Mediterranean area. It brings together communities that offer a wide variety of services. According to one of its founders, « what we are trying to change with a tool like this is to propose destinations or activities that the traveller would never have thought of, rather than concentrating masses of visitors on the same destinations. The initiative has received support from the New Aquitaine Region as part of its Call for expressions of interest in social innovation.

To go further

  • Two webinars on Participatory tourism, local currencies and SSE, by the Institute of Local Currencies, December 2020. - Social tourism: regions innovate to develop their attractiveness (Avise)

  • Bruno Carlier and Jean-Pierre Martinetti (eds.): La conduite de projets touristiques durables sur les territoires. Rethinking tourism strategy from a sustainable development perspective. Éd. Territorial - coll. Dossiers d’expert. - Brice Duthion: Guide de l’élu délégué au tourisme. Elaborating the best strategy for a coherent tourism development. Éd. Territorial - coll. Dossiers d’expert.

  • L’ancrage local au cœur des stratégies touristiques », special issue of the magazine ESPACES tourisme et loisirs, December 2020.