A little history
While they were still called “syndicat d’initiative”, the first structures were born in 1875 in the Vosges, with the aim of welcoming visitors who came to discover the surrounding massifs.
But the initiative unions really took off during the inter-war period, when a real federation organization was set up During the Second World War, and despite the Occupation, the tourist offices continued to function and offer a service.
The lack of public funding was felt after the Second World War and in 1964, they became tourist offices whose aim waswas to welcome tourists and promote the local traditions of a region after the State became fully aware of the stakes that tourism could represent.
Today,tourist offices are an integral part of the French landscape and are a valuable source of assistance for travelers.
What is the purpose of tourist offices?
As for congresses & convention bureaus, the activity of tourist offices is precise and regulated by the French government. According to the Tourism Code, the following missions are entrusted to the offices:
- Welcoming and informing tourists
- Promote tourism in the commune or group of communes, in coordination with the CDTand the CRT
- Coordinate the interventions of the various partners in local tourism development.
They can also be in charge of complementary missions:
- Development and implementation of local tourism policy and local tourism development programs, especially in the areas of development of tourist services, operation of tourist and recreational facilities;
- Of the animation of leisure,
- The organization of festivals and cultural events;
- Marketing of tourist services;
- To be consulted on collective tourist equipment projects (mandatory for EPIC tourist offices).
In order to successfully organize these events, they may need to use specialized software such as Lab Event.
In France, there are currently 1,402 Tourist Offices and 183 Tourist Information Centres, all federated in the National Federation of Tourist Offices and Tourist Information Centres (FNOTSI). This federation, created at the beginning of the 20th century, offers a directory of tourist offices and tourist information centers, an agenda of cultural events in France, a magazine on tourism in France, as well as useful tips for trips and outings in France. The Federation has a cumulative budget of 800 million euros.
Just like hotels, tourist offices can be classified and obtain from one to four stars according to rigorous criteria to be respected, such as the means implemented for the reception of the public, the accessibility to the public, the signage, etc.