Literally crowded beaches, overcrowded car parks and, in places, overcrowded sites, to the point that some national parks are sounding the alarm.
Despite the coronavirus epidemic, which caused the desertion of the usually large foreign clientele, the summer of 2020 was a record summer in Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur.
Deprived of travel outside France, French tourists have indeed fallen back heavily on the south of France, thus saving a badly engaged summer season.
According to figures released on Monday by the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region, the number of tourist nights booked last summer by French tourists has thus jumped by nearly 20%.
Tourists who have concentrated on a few sites, especially the coast.
In Marseille, between June 15 and September 1, cumulatively, 3.5 million people were identified on the beaches and coves, an increase of 63% compared to 2019.
"We will certainly experience the same thing as last summer"
And the next tourist season promises to be under the same auspices, according to François de Canson, president of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regional tourism committee. "Reservations are going well, which suggests a good summer season," he said. "We will certainly experience the same thing as last summer," says Nicolas Guyot, hotelier from Marseille and vice-president of the Union des trades et des industries de l'hôtellerie (Umih) of Bouches-du-Rhône. There are people who will stay in France, and will come to Marseille to seek the sea and the sun. "
But in a region that is already heavily touristed, this additional influx of people is not without its problems.
In a recent interview with
, the president of the Calanques National Park was alarmed by unprecedented attendance.
A situation which forces the park to consider quotas for access to certain sites in order to preserve biodiversity and to embark on a demarketing policy, by fighting against the “postcard” image attached to the creeks.
Major tourism promotion campaign
Heavenly images yet at the heart of the regional council's communication strategy presented to the press on Tuesday.
From the beginning of May, within the framework of the campaign “We all need the South”, the region will indeed launch a major tourism promotion campaign, with heavy advertising spots.
"Last year, in terms of media choice, we opened up very broadly," defends Loïc Chovelon, director general of tourism for the region.
There, by forging a partnership with Le Monde, for example, we are targeting CSP +, for communication that corresponds to our high-end accommodation capacity.
"A campaign that is also available in all the departments of the region, in the hope of better distributing this future flow.
"We need to fill the cash drawers"
“Preserving our sensitive natural sites is quite tricky,” admits Guillaume Decard, president of Var Tourisme. We must do prevention without frustrating. This subject is extremely sensitive because it ruffles the hair of certain professionals. We are currently working with the department to strengthen prevention, through our staff on certain sites. For example, on the exceptional site of Sillans-la-Cascade, this staff will aim to make the public more fluid, and encourage tourists, if there are too many people, to go to the village or go to the neighboring sites of Cortignac or of the Gorges du Verdon. "
Expectations are indeed high on the side of the hotel sector, strongly affected by the coronavirus crisis.
"We are not going to say that there should be fewer tourists in Marseille," contends Nicolas Guyot.
There is still a whole tourist economy to manage.
And restaurateurs and hoteliers have some catching up to do.
Our government guaranteed loans were taken out a year ago.
We need to fill the cash drawers… ”
Lille: A treasure hunt to revive brewing tourism in times of Covid
Ariège: The establishment of luxury cabins on the banks of Lake Montbel is making waves