- While waiting for the tourism industry to come back to life, the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg, on which the Strasbourg Tourist Office and its region (OTSR) depends, is setting up four committees.
- Each will work to develop and optimize the tourist offer, in relation to the Rhine basin, a territory with many riches and with a population of 6 million.
The tourism industry is faltering and the prospects for a return to normalcy are waiting a little longer every day. In Strasbourg, this is all the more felt as the Alsatian capital welcomed, before the health crisis, more than four million visitors each year, as recalls Michèle Kannengieser, the brand new president of the Strasbourg Tourist Office and its region (OTSR). A tourism which has the particularity of being made up of 50% of international business customers.
And this is not without direct consequences for the Eurometropolis where tourism employs 14,000 people in hotels, restaurants, leisure sites or even travel agencies, underlines the OTSR, not to mention the many indirect jobs in crafts, transport. Excluding the health and economic crisis, tourism represented 7.5 million annual overnight stays, 500 million euros in expenditure for the local economy and 15 million euros in tax revenue for communities. Also, with a view to recovery, the brand new OSTR team does not intend to watch the trains go by and is preparing for D-Day, the day when tourists can return. Its president, Michèle Kannengieser, also mayor of La Wantzenau, aims for the Eurometropolis to become “a more sustainable, more inclusive and more diversified destination”.
Until then, Strasbourg had been a destination for short urban stays, mainly for leisure and business, centered on itself, and relying mainly, “perhaps too easily, on its existing heritage”, analyzes Michèle Kannengieser. Namely, its cathedral, its architecture, its Christmas market, its European institutions. “The tourist offer” destination Strasbourg “had become a kind of real income from situation which worked a little on its own, without it being necessary to deploy superhuman efforts to make it known as the attractiveness was strong”, regrets- she does. A “facility” acting a bit like “a picking economy in a particularly rich environment, without necessarily worrying about sowing, to predict the following year”. But the Covid-19 has been there.
In a rectangle of 250 kilometers
The OSTR now recommends enriching and renewing the Eurometropolis’ offer by projecting itself into its environment, Alsatian and Rhine. A 360-degree vision where all the “nuggets”, in a 250-kilometer rectangle, going from Basel to Karlsruhe via Baden-Baden, would be linked, optimized and enhanced. Recalling that the Rhine axis is six million people.
New challenges for the Eurometropolis which, to achieve this, sets up four working committees, each led by one or more members of the OTSR Board of Directors. That is to say professionals of the hotel industry, traders, specialists in events, elected officials of Strasbourg. Main objectives: integrate the inhabitants into tourism policy, quickly create new products and diversify the offer, optimize each of its assets, broaden the attractiveness to the entire territory and beyond the border, on the coordination of sectors, accommodation. On the calendar side, we will still have to wait to see the first concrete proposals come out of the basket. But the city will be ready, hopes the OSTR, from the first day of tomorrow’s world.