It supports the investments of outdoor activities focused destinations, to bring together these activities and services and provide the best holiday experience.
This policy aims at supporting the development of destination strategies for outdoor activities focused territories.
Uncoordinated facilities, increasing competition between sports destinations and an inconsistent quality of services can make it difficult for the region to stand out on this market.
Thus the objective is to think more in terms of products than in terms of projects and to organise the tourism development strategy of the Region while taking all the components of a tourist product into consideration. Product oriented destinations are more attractive and constitute a positive environment for SMEs to grow.
Project calls are launched by the Regional Council to identify the most relevant territories, in order to assist them in becoming Outdoor activities flagship territories.
Applicant territories are chosen according to their development project and a minimum level of quality and quantity standards of the existing activity sites and services.
Contracts are signed with these territories, stating many objectives that should be met as far as tourism services are concerned. These contracts pay specific attention to SMEs related issues, like:
- coordination of a network of outdoor activity SMEs: joint reservations, shared pricing policy, sales, …
- accommodation capacity
- business and services: restaurants, cafés, shops, post offices, ATM…
The support provided by the Regional council includes technical and financial assistance (for both studies and investments)
The budget dedicated to this policy by the Regional Council varies between €400 000 and €600 000 per year. A full-time project manager is in charge of this policy.
Evidence of success
Supported strategies and investments have positive effects locally, for example:
-In Prabouré resort: Winter average turnover multiplied by 4 between 2011 and 2018, Steady increase of the summer turnover from € 0 in 2011 to € 300 000 in 2018. Increase of the human resource employed by the management body from 4,5 full time equivalents in 2011 to 9 in 2018
-In Pessade resort: Increase of the number of partner SMEs in summer from 3 in 2015 to 10 in 2018, and in winter from 3 in 2014 to 6 in 2018
There might be a gap between the strategies presented and the actual investments, for various reasons:
- The project calls create a strong local emulation which sometimes results in over-ambitious investment strategies
- Long-term strategies can be vulnerable to political change
Potential for learning or transfer
The potential for transfer lies at two levels:
- At regional level
The method and specifications of the regional call for projects can be adapted to other regional contexts, while keeping the main objective to build product oriented destinations which are more attractive and constitute a positive environment for SMEs to grow.
- At local level
Some local strategies implemented by the beneficiaries of the policy can be of interest to other territories. For example, one of the investments supported in the Pessade resort is a “house of outdoor activities”, public building used by many private operators to rent equipment or sell activities. This is a good example of how the local public authority can bring SMEs a better environment to grow.
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