Tourism and creative engineering: La Rochelle leads the way

La Rochelle Tourism training

“The Tourism Sector Committee must be revitalized, with two priorities: consultation and adaptation to the challenges of the sector” insisted the French Minister for Tourism, Olivia Grégoire, on November 9, 2022 in Bercy.

Training, professionalization and employment are the spearheads of sustainable tourism development strategies. Creative tourism meets these objectives.

Indeed, the co-creation of experiences, involving the participation of professionals from sectors as diverse as tourism, agriculture, crafts, culture and creative industries, is based on an inclusive and transversal model, which forces us to rethink tourism training.

The vision and managerial skills must now meet the specific needs of a heterogeneous tourism sector.

It is in this sense that academic and professional training and schools must adapt to this paradigm shift in order to provide future professionals in the sector with new skills.

Excelia Tourism School in La Rochelle is a pioneer in this field. Marie-Virginie Connac, Head of Corporate Partnerships for specialized schools, saw the importance of this opening up six years ago when she integrated a creative tourism module on destination management.

Developed in collaboration with the Creative Tourism Network® (CTN), this module allows Bachelor in Tourism and Hospitality Management students to work on projects aimed at proposing creative tourism strategies for La Rochelle, as its potential to position itself through a sustainable and creative offer is huge!

For this 2023 edition, some 30 students from 12 countries defined creative tourist profiles for which they created experiences and experiential marketing strategies, highlighting the DNA and assets of La Rochelle and its region.

From LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability), to “Empty Nest”, or MICE tourists, in search of ethical and human values, inspired innovative projects that highlighted the diversity and sustainability of the destination.

These proposals meet the sustainable development objectives of the United Nations Agenda 2030 and, more specifically, the need for diversification and the creation of an ecosystem through the tourism of local know-how.

For Frédérique Michely, Director of External Relations for La Rochelle Tourism & Events, “turning to creative tourism will help La Rochelle and its region to develop a local and non-displaceable offer, in line with the zero-carbon projects already implemented in the destination.

For Caroline Couret, Director of the Creative Tourism Network®, “this partnership allows us to create synergies, both locally and internationally, through the networking of Creative Friendly destinations. La Rochelle is thus both a destination and an innovative engineering center for creative tourism”.