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The Bouches de Bonifacio towards more sustainable tourism

Ambition led jointly by the municipal tourist office, the Corsica Tourism Agency and the Environment Office, DestiMed Plus has made it possible to create a turnkey eco-designed stay, which will be developed on the seasonal wings and can be duplicated in Corsica

It has been three years now since this European project was launched. As part of DestiMed Plusthe municipal tourist office of Bonifacio (OMTB), theCorsica Tourism Agency (ATC) and the Office of the Environment via the Natural reserve of the mouths of Bonifacio have worked together to create turnkey eco-designed stays for the pre- or post-season, with the smallest ecological footprint possible.

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Stated objective: to encourage another type of tourism, more sustainable, more respectful of the environment, which gives pride of place to encounters, to unusual visits, with committed local players. “This is the beginning of a strategy to be put in place, that of sustainable tourism”sums up Pauline Torre, responsible for sustainable tourism at the ATC. “We are lucky to have a very committed local network, which has made it possible to develop a successful ecotourism package”Judge Marjorie Istria, Quality Marketing Manager of the OMT of Bonifacio.

The stay as imagined within the framework of DestiMed Plus takes place over six days and seven nights – with possible adaptations over time – in spring or autumn, with in particular outdoor activities, farm visits farms, a visit to the Lavezzi, a concert, most meals included and a tour guide to accompany travelers during their stay. “We had a reference of around 150 criteria to respect, focused on the ecological impact to guarantee the sustainability of the individual and global offer and to meet the standards of global ecotourism”underlines Nathalie Buresi, director of the UNWTO.

Selected and committed service providers

All of this, of course, with selected service providers committed to the ecotourism approach. “because the specifications imposed by Europe provide for a precise calculation of the overall ecological footprint of the product. Depending on the activities and the commitment of the service providers in this direction, this calculation may have been more or less complex”smiles Florence Minighetti, responsible for sustainable tourism projects at the OMTB. “This is also the reason why we have been scientifically assisted by experts to have the lowest possible result on the carbon footprint of the stay”continues Jean-Louis Moretti, head of the ATC’s engineering and development department.

The environmental logic of the DestiMed Plus stay has been “highlighted from the beginning. This moderate tourism must also make it possible to promote access to nature, while preserving it. The key will be to properly frame specific areas to preserve the Lavezzi. And we can decline it in other areas of the Reserve”says Jean Michel Culioli, head of the protected natural areas department at the Office of the Environment.

The variation of the project can be done even very far from Bonifacio: “The challenge will also be to duplicate this model of stay in different places in Corsica, with players who will offer the same level of performance. Scandola and Cap Corse, in particular, are among the places where we could imagine a DestiMed Plus stay because this are areas where tourist pressure is high and where we therefore have to find alternatives”develops Jean Louis Moretti.

Through this project, the Bonifacio tourist office becomes a tour operator, “and the marketing will undoubtedly be the hardest step because we are totally new to this field. It is also a niche product, rare on the market and which is aimed at a clientele rather sensitive to questions The first tests were conclusive and allowed us to make adjustments to offer a stay that meets the requirements of DestiMed Plus and travelers”continues Nathalie Buresi.

In this respect, in particular, the mayor of Bonifacio, Jean Charles Orsucci, considers that “the ATC will have a decisive role to play within the framework of its coordination mission. We have thought about the tourism of tomorrow, but we have to support it and train as many people as possible to allow it to develop”.

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