First Base is the equivalent of an 'Editorial'. It is the opportunity for S & A to provide comment and provoke discussion on topical issues relating to leisure and tourism. This will be provided each month and we would welcome your feedback on the matters raised.
First Base 24: Sustainable Tourism in the Camargue
This is the practice and its does work in theory! As part of an ‘Olympic Spirit’ delegation, I had the privilege of spending the May weekend in the Camargue, Provence.
This remarkable environment is the outcome of a complex range of interdependencies between man and nature. Tourism now sits comfortably in this jigsaw, creating a fresh set of opportunities to allow the Camargue to sustain its communities, their way of life, culture and the symbiotic relationship with nature.
Hotels are small scale and in family ownership. Many are converted farmhouses whilst any new developments are designed in the vernacular style using local materials.
Local produce is evident on all menus whilst the ability to buy could not be made easier with approved clusters of roadside stalls and a dramatically designed modern ‘House of Local Food’ on the outskirts of the City of Arles. The Gypsy culture (this is the home of the patron saint of gypsies, Saint Sara) is particularly evident and, again, easy to access, either in local villages or in staged-managed shows at El Patio.
Activities reflect the best ways to experience the local environment and include canoe safaris, horse treks, guided cycle tours and specialist-interest guided walks. Activities are purchasable at all local hotels. There is clearly a strong level of collaboration throughout all operations in the area. There are many lessons here for rural tourism in other destinations.
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