Growth of nature tourism in the Loire valley: transforming the landscapes, promoting the local development?

Abstract : Nature tourism is actually growing in France, what has to be linked to the willingness of the society, mainly urban, to be closer to nature. The Centre-Val de Loire French Region has an asset: the Loire valley, especially its part, which was registered as living cultural landscape on the Unesco World Heritage list. We are interested in this area in the framework of a research program, whose purpose was to identify the practices and perceptions linked to nature tourism. In this paper, we would like to focus on two forms of tourism, which are growing in the Loire valley, to question their effects on the territory. The first form of tourism is linked to vineyards, through the example of Bourgueil; the second one, to a European cycling road of 800 km along the Loire river, the “Loire à vélo” – we will focus on a part of 32 km, from Langeais to Candes-Saint-Martin. In both cases, tourism growing involves facilities but they remain quite limited. The most important landscapes transformation is linked to wine tourism: we can see a multiplication of road signs to localize wine growers and landscaping on the wine or vine topics also reinforce the vineyard importance in the landscapes. We have to note that the cycling road doesn’t through the vineyard but we can see some recent attempts to bring cycling tourists in the vineyards. The wine tourism just begins to grow and linking to the “Loire à vélo” is a way to attract more tourists. Some communes near the Loire river refer to this cycling road, without it going through. Some secondary cycling roads also appear. Public actors find an interest to develop this kind of roads because they know that tourism is a way to make their territory more dynamic, to create economic activities: shops, beds and breakfasts open; leisure activities develop and, for wine growers, tourism is a way to increase the direct selling as to diversify their incomes. Thus, still limited, nature tourism contributes to increase the quality of life in the rural communes of the Loire valley, all the more since inhabitants can also benefit from tourist facilities and awareness-raising actions in favor of nature and landscapes. But some disadvantages also begin to be underlined: environmental damages and disturbances (more than expected), tensions between tourists crossing vineyards and wine growers. They have to be taken into account to avoid source of conflicts and allow tourism to contribute to the well-being of inhabitants as tourists. Without being ‘overtourism’, tourism has effects.
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Contributor : Amélie Robert <>
Submitted on : Saturday, September 15, 2018 - 9:21:47 PM
Last modification on : Monday, June 24, 2019 - 11:01:36 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-01875013, version 1

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Amélie Robert, Sylvie Servain, Lolita Voisin, Jean Louis Yengué. Growth of nature tourism in the Loire valley: transforming the landscapes, promoting the local development?. Permanent European Conference for the Study of the Rural Landscape (PECSRL) 2018: European Landscapes for Quality of life?, « Territoires » (Agro Paris Tech, Clermont Auvergne University, INRA, IRSTEA, VetAgro Sup), Sep 2018, Clermont-Ferrand et Mende, France. ⟨halshs-01875013⟩

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