Tourism in Cévennes: the promise of a new boost for the Grand Sites called to « reinvent themselves »

A steering committee dedicated to the Cévennes took place on Thursday, September 14th, in Alès. The ambition is clearly stated.

Christophe Rivenq, president of Alès Agglo and regional councilor, immediately announces his intention: « We want to develop this Grand Site policy in Occitanie. » Specifically, this Thursday, September 14th was supposed to be marked by a steering committee meeting with the presence of Muriel Abadie, the vice-president of the Region in charge of sustainable tourism, leisure, and thermalism. She emphasizes once again the commitment made last year to revitalize the initiative and give it new momentum, as it has suffered from the Covid health crisis. She wants to reassure local partners and professionals that President Carole Delga is determined to develop the Grand Sites policy.

« I cannot reword »

And that of the Cévennes, which stretches from Mont Lozère to the south of the Agglo and extends to the Viganais country, is obviously part of it. It too will be integrated into « a new generation ». « We will sign amendments next autumn, » announces Muriel Abadie. The new tourism and leisure plan and public measures voted on in the standing committee will then be presented. The Vice-President of the Region, who came to Alès with two « Great Sites of Occitania » plaques to be installed (in locations not yet determined but which could be, as Christophe Rivenq imagines, Maison Rouge in Saint-Jean-du-Gard or La Maison de la Figue in Vézénobres, Editor’s note) shows ambition. For her, « each Great Site must not prohibit anything; we must go beyond what is currently being done. » In short, we need to « reinvent ourselves » and look further. To ensure that « Occitania remains the top tourist region in France » (read below), Muriel Abadie smiles. « We need to continue working and not limit ourselves to natural resources and what we have today. »

« It is complicated for the restoration. »

For the Region, it is still too early to assess the tourist season as it runs until the end of September, or even into October. However, we can say that the situation is complicated for the restaurant industry, and as for reservations, there is stability. The first factor blamed is apparently inflation. The regional council is also waiting for the end of the Rugby World Cup, with five matches being played in Occitanie. « And this attracts a lot of tourists with significant purchasing power, » says Muriel Abadie. « They have around €5000 to spend in the area per person. » This sporting event could generate « €63 million in economic benefits » in the Region.

Furthermore, the tourism officer of the Region states that work meetings will be held with the 41 Grand Sites, whose number will not change, « to create connections between them and to encourage them to work together. » She emphasizes, « The Region will support this connection. » The stated intention is therefore clearly to accelerate development and « expand the scope so that it is not only the iconic site that benefits. » Hoping, of course, for economic benefits, Muriel Abadie concedes, « To attract tourists for multiple days and for the municipalities to benefit from it. »