In Meurthe-et-Moselle, we prefer to “talk about attractiveness rather than tourism”

© Guillaume Robert-Famy

Meurthe-et-Moselle has many assets and should not hesitate to highlight them. However, the department must exist on its own. It starts first by thinking about your own identity. Another challenge, as mentioned by Antony Caps, departmental vice-president for attractiveness: breaking down the barriers between tourism.

Here, we talk about Lorraine more than Meurthe-et-Moselle. In Nancy, Lunéville, Toul and as far as Longwy, we feel like Lorraine. And even the locals will tell you that. Even if, administratively, the region no longer exists, it is still alive in the hearts and minds of the Meurthe-et-Mosellans. Even on the windows of souvenir shops and other local specialties we can read “Lorraine products”, the packaging very often displaying the red and yellow scarf as a guarantee of authenticity. When it comes to tourism, too, it is difficult to talk about the department, unlike the Vosges, Moselle or Alsatian neighbors who have forged their own identity. A strong identity. Proof of this is the slogan of the departmental tourism committee: “Meurthe-et-Moselle, the Lorraine spirit”. “We are the only ones who still identify with it, unlike the others who limit themselves to their perimeter,” confirms Antony Caps. Which leads us to question ourselves. » The departmental vice-president in charge of attractiveness nevertheless recognizes that this Lorraine identity tends to run out of steam and must be renewed. “Lorraine existed and it still exists in history books but, in reality, it no longer really exists except in people’s imagination. I think this attachment also comes from our history. We must not forget where we come from but we must talk more about Meurthe-et-Moselle. » This is precisely one of the works that the departmental teams will focus on to bring the territory to life and make it exist in its own right. “We must be able to define a brand, an identity that is unique to us. It’s my hobby horse. »

An identity which must not, however, minimize the richness of this unique terroir and place everyone in the same boat. “Meurthe-et-Moselle is a very eclectic territory, each part of the department has its own specificities. However, the goal is not to standardize all of this. » Already reviewed in 2021, the departmental committee website will be completely redesigned again to better match this new identity. The right opportunity to “rediscover digital attractiveness”, essential to exist these days.

Specificities and global vision

Made up of departmental elected officials and representatives of the tourism sector such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Union of Hospitality Trades, the Chamber of Trades and Crafts, etc. to which are added partners present “in a consultative capacity”, the departmental tourism committee supports the 11 tourist offices as well as the various public intermunicipal cooperation establishments [18 au total dont 13 prélèvent la taxe de séjour], “who today have responsibility for tourism in their territories”. “The Department has implemented an additional tourist tax, which represents 10% of the tax collected by the EPCI, entirely focused on actions to boost attendance in the communities concerned, management of natural spaces and protection of the environment. for tourist purposes. » Or an additional budget of around 100,000 euros per year. Speaking of the budget, the financial envelope increased from 166,000 euros in 2023 to a forecast of 289,000 euros spent for the year 2024. An increase in resources which reflects this desire to accelerate these developments.

At the same time, the community commissioned a study from the SCET group, a specialized firm, “in order to be neutral with regard to the EPCI and not to direct them”, specifies Antony Caps. The objective of this study: to take stock of the situation with EPCIs to identify their strengths and weaknesses. A first restitution took place around two weeks ago. For the moment, it is still too early to make a pre-diagnosis. The rest of the work will therefore consist of carrying out individual interviews, case by case, in order to define in more detail the orientations that each EPCI must follow. “These discussions will make it possible to refine the level of support that the committee can provide at their side. Our goal is not to do it for them but to support them in their development, to build this approach with them. And of course to encourage local initiatives within a global logic. »

Slow tourism

It is also a vision to be broadened, underlines the mayor of Nomény. “We need to get out of the single prism and talk about attractiveness rather than tourism. We are going to look for a certain number of cross-cutting policies. We are re-examining ourselves about tourism itself, how we retain people in our territory, how we bring others but also how we will reach other dimensions. I am thinking of the field of solidarity economy, agriculture, local sectors, our know-how, our heritage. We are no longer dealing with a simple tourism issue. we will touch on different areas that make sense in proximity. Sport can also be a relevant element. » Speaking of sport, “slow tourism”, which advocates soft mobility for getting around, including cycling, has been particularly trendy in recent years. In this regard, Meurthe-et-Moselle has an undeniable card to play. “The territory has assets and the natural aspect is one of them. We are a very green department, with a network of cycle lanes and blue lanes, to which are added the V50 and V52, which is constantly evolving. Moreover, 10 million euros are allocated to the bicycle plan. » A nature and know-how that must be capitalized on. And to conclude: “I really believe in destination 54.”

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