how to deal with overtourism?

how to deal with overtourism?
how to deal with overtourism?

While the government seeks to regulate overtourism in France, certain Alsatian municipalities faced with the phenomenon are implementing solutions to reconcile tourism and the tranquility of residents. Example in Haut-Rhin with Riquewihr and Eguisheim.

Alsace is popular with tourists. Is it the “favorite village of the French” effect won by several Alsatian villages, the ranking of the famous Lonely Planet travel guide which in 2010 placed Alsace as one of the most beautiful regions in the world to visit, or even the fame of its magical Christmas markets?

Still, certain towns in the region often find themselves stormed by visitors, to the great dismay of the residents. To enable better coexistence, certain villages have therefore considered measures to stem the flow of tourists.

Among them, Riquewihr and Eguisheim, among the most attractive villages in Alsace. The first has 1700 souls, but reaches a million and a half visitors per year. There were 700,000 recorded in Eguisheim in 2013, for a population of just over a thousand inhabitants.

The measure will come into force at the next Christmas market, the great period of tourist suffocation. From now on, in the Haut-Rhin commune, tourist buses will have to pay more for their parking: 40 euros from Monday to Thursday, 70 euros on weekends, and up to 100 euros if the carrier has not made an advance reservation.

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The town of Riquewihr is introducing a paid parking system for buses and coaches during the Christmas market.

© HERVE KIELWASSER / MAXPPP

A way of spreading tourist attendance between weekdays and weekends. During peak periods, the town welcomes up to 300 buses per day. “We will see if this price, which is dissuasive on weekends, will encourage tour operators to distribute their flow to weekdays, which are usually less busy.“, comments the mayor who initiated the measure, Daniel Klack.

Integrated into the price of the trip, this increase in the parking price will be passed on to customers. They will have to pay an additional one to two euros per day and per person. But this does not seem to deter the curious who come to discover Riquewihr. “We are no longer within 1 or 2 euros when we travel.”, smiled one of them. “So perhaps the price would have to be even more expensive for it to be truly dissuasive.“, reacts a resident of the Alsatian village.

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On the opening day of the Christmas market in Riquewihr (Haut-Rhin): the crowds are there.

© T GACHON / MAXPPP

First affected by the measure, carriers believe that acting solely on the price lever is not necessarily the best solution. “Another line of thought could be that municipalities regulate these flows, that they set up time slots to spread them outanalyzes Claire Dietrich, of the national federation of transporters of the Grand Est. Coaches should therefore make an appointment to be able to park. This would also allow them to move around and maneuver more easily.”

Riquewihr is also considering the construction of a new car park, as well as the establishment of shuttles from a platform shared with Ribeauvillé, another very touristy town.

Another Alsatian town heavily faced with overtourism since it obtained the title of “favorite village of the French” in 2013, Eguisheim very often sees its picturesque streets crowded with people.

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Very touristy municipalities like Eguisheim (Haut-Rhin) seek to reconcile tourist benefits and tranquility of the inhabitants.

© E. Kleinhoffer / France Télévisions

Here, there is no increase in the price of parking: passenger coaches are invited to drop tourists off near the historic city center, then to park in a large car park on the outskirts. “There are 330 places so there is plenty to doobserves the mayor of Eguisheim, Claude Centlivre. There are also other car parks accessible to the north and south of the town. And they’re free. But you have to walk a little.”

The government could take inspiration from these two Alsatian examples. In June 2023, it launched a major plan to regulate tourist flows, and in particular peaks in attendance which can overwhelm municipalities at certain times of the year, as is the case in Alsace at Christmas time. . Overtourism with multiple consequences: soaring real estate prices, environmental harm, and sometimes “rejection” of tourists by local populations.

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