Interview of Diana Hounslow, Director of Pas-de-Calais Tourisme
Diana Hounslow, you are working for Pas-de-Calais Tourisme on the development of ecomobility for tourism. Can you briefly tell us what experiments you have implemented and how it benefits to the attractiveness of the French coast of Dover Strait?
We carried out two experiments inviting a keen walker and a practiced cyclist to test itineraires on the Opal Coast.
Pierre’s took a 3 day car-free escapade arriving from Paris by high speed TGV in Boulogne-sur-Mer. He walked from Boulogne to the gateway of Le Grand Site de France Les Deux Caps La Pointe de la Crèche to Cap Blanc-Nez, he returned to Paris from the international station at Calais-Fréthun. He stopped off in restaurants and accommodation along the way and sent us a detailed account of his journey. This enabled us both to analyse our shortcomings and understand the needs of walkers.
We organised training for local businesses based on Pierre’s experience :
Car-free breaks in 2 Grands Sites de France - Les Deux Caps and Baie de Somme
In 2015 two training sessions for tourist offices and buisnesses :
- Client expectation :
- Production :
What is the ideal content for a car-free holiday ?
Analysis of what’s on offer
Partnerships and networks including transportation businesses
Raising the awareness of local businesses
Targetting through social networks
Marketing of 5 holiday packages, available online through the Terre des Deux Caps Tourist Office since september 2015.
Our cycling expert was also a tour operator, he took the Eurovélo route along the coast and recorded his experience in the same way as Pierre had done. He then helped us produce a package for cyclists and a second series of suggested routes for cyclists and walkers, he promoted them on his website www.france-randonnée.fr.
FREE WHEELING !
Programme for a cycling holiday
LF1 Northern European Route from
La Côte d'Opale from Cap Gris Nez to Baie de Somme
Emblematic sites to see
- Le site des Deux Caps entre Boulonnais et Calaisis, remarkable diversity of landscapes and variety of atmospheres with coastal villages and the hills dales and woodland of Parc Naturel des Caps et Marais d’Opale.
- La Baie de Somme, amazing change of maritime scenery, whetlands and flat fields when the tide is low
5 Days and 4 Nights – a 3 day trail. 535 € - France Randonnées
A spin off from this experiment was to equip La Maison du Grand Site visitor with 30 electric bicycles which during their first season they were rented 1 700 times from the 1st of april to the 30th of september… despite a pretty damp summer season.
We have seen that similar approaches have been developed on the English side of Dover Strait. What would be, in your opinion, the benefit of enhancing cross-border work on this topic?
We need to experiment and compare our best practices in this field. The needs of walkers and cyclists vary according to their culture so it is always useful to see what others do to answer these needs. It is equally important that sign posted routes in neighbouring regions should be connected. Identical signposting would also be an enormous step forward.
Creating links between walking and cycling associations would make excellent sense economically and culturally.