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The Grand Est goes green

The Park of Sainte-Croix, in Rhodes, remains a reference in terms of green tourism. Photo DR / Morgane Bricard

The Region is launching a call for projects to encourage sustainable tourism players who are carrying out a major initiative to settle in the Grand Est. She is willing to shell out millions to fulfill her ambition.

The elected officials of the Grand Est, through the Club Croissance Tourisme, have initiated a policy that should make the region one of the world’s top 10 “smart destinations” by 2025. Smart what? An anglicism, one more. Don’t stop there. Because behind, the proposal is commendable, sticks to the world of 2022, the one where we choose our territory to take a break and go green, rather than a getaway to Dublin or Berlin.

Under the name “smart destination”, the digital and the digital are important, but the idea is above all to offer regional, sustainable tourism, therefore oriented towards ecology. “It’s a hot topic. With the explosion of energy costs and the ecological transition taking place, the world must manage to provide leisure stays with a minimal environmental footprint. We can no longer envisage the preponderant mass tourism since the 1970s”, explains Alexandre Keff, vice-president of Moselle Attractiveness in charge of tourism.

“Do not fall into overtourism”

So communities get involved. A call for projects has just been launched by the Grand Est Region to encourage the establishment of green sites in the territory. It promises the bearers of an initiative whose total cost reaches at least 3 million euros financial support that can reach 20% of the overall envelope, with a ceiling set at 1 million euros. Among the selection requirements: the promise of sustainable leisure facilities, generating overnight stays or extended stays. “We want to attract national and even international projects here while taking care not to fall into overtourism. With these future quality players, we will be able to develop intraregional tourism, ”says Arnaud Robinet, vice-president in charge of attractiveness, culture and tourism at the regional council. “Ideally, the sites should invite you to discover nature and animals. Above all, they must rely on short circuits in their operation, ”continues the elected official.

In Moselle, the message is received five out of five. “I don’t know a single tourist actor who doesn’t try to green his offer. To obtain the MOSL Quality label, offering sustainable tourism is essential”, proclaims Alexandre Keff.

In the 57, we find precursors of the “smart destination”. Thus the Sainte-Croix park, which opened in 1980, and its 1,500 animals in semi-captivity whose natural habitat is in Moselle. The place only accepts 46 cottages on 120 hectares in order to let nature flourish on the site. And then there are the new ones, like the Gîte de la Perhotte run by the managers of the restaurant “À La 12” in Delme. “Ten kilometers from the restaurant, we offer this completely self-sufficient lodging in its energy needs thanks to a system for renewing waste water, solar panels for electricity. In the field, we grow the fruits, vegetables and herbs that I use in my cooking. I’m going to try to grow asparagus lettuce there, which you can hardly find,” rejoices Thomas François, the fourth generation at the head of the emblematic restaurant.

The Moselle at the rendezvous

All you have to do is dig a little to realize that the Moselle, in addition to its 20% of wooded areas, its 4,800 kilometers of hiking trails, is full of sustainable tourist offers that are just waiting to amaze the inhabitants of the territory. What about these electro-solar boats whose development has been encouraged by the Inspire Metz Agency and which offer an unusual visit to the Moselle capital with zero C02 emissions as a bonus. What about Amnéville and the Cité des Loisirs, which is setting up a free scooter service and always leaves more room for pedestrians while greening the car parks. “We also communicate on the fact that Moselle residents can benefit from our 70 activities for a short stay. With actors who have understood the environmental emergency. The zoo warns about the protection of species, about global warming. The leaders have stopped the tiger show, deemed too close to the circus, to offer one based on holograms. The aquarium teaches about the necessary protection of the oceans…”, develops Caroline Platteau, communication director of the SPL Destination Amnéville. What more can we say about the wine tourism that is developing in Moselle, “with 60% of its AOC labeled organic”, recalls Alexandre Keff…

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