For the commemorations of the centenary of the First World War, Nord-Pas de Calais Tourisme and other partners have created a network of establishments where the reception staff have been trained in 14-18 memorial heritage.
The approach aims to improve the quality of the reception given to visitors from around the world when visiting memorial sites along the former Western Front. The personnel is trained to act as guides regarding the region’s memorial heritage for the establishments.
This scheme will contribute to the reinforcement of the region’s welcoming image, and ensure positive communication abroad.
To get the network started, it was suggested to several tourism professionals - tourism promotion organisations, accommodation and restaurant owners, and transport companies - to register one or two people from their reception staff. The establishments were chosen from those who participate in the Qualité Tourisme scheme or another label scheme (Gîtes de France, Clévacances, Logis de France).
Each person participated in two complementary training sessions. The first stage was an information session about the main historical events, memorials, and the region’s patrimonial history from the First World War. Secondly, they participated in a field trip in the territory crossed by the memorial trail to learn about the symbolic sites, with both a concrete and sensitive approach.
At the end of the training course, each establishment was provided with the network’s specific signage as well as Great War brochures.
Nord-Pas de Calais Tourisme gives priority to this network of establishments for communication actions and promotion for the 14-18 memorial theme. The regional tourist board coordinates the scheme and organises the promotion of accredited establishments. Today, the “Northern France Battlefields Partner” network has over 200 members.
This plan is part of the Contrat de Destination “Centenaire de la Grande Guerre” (Great War Centenary destination contract ) which unites the Nord-Pas de Calais, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine regions; the Somme, Aisne et Meuse departments; the Pôle d’Excellence Rural “Front des Vosges 14-18” (the rural centre of excellence “the 14-18 Vosges Front”); the Ministry of Tourism, the Secretary of State for War Veterans, Atout France (French national tourism agency), and the First World War Centenary Partnership Program.
See the network’s site for the list of accredited establishments: www.northernfrance-battlefields-partner.com
*These professional networks and organisations support the creation of the Contrat de Destination “Centenaire de la Grande Guerre” throughout the Nord-Pas de Calais. They are: Accor Hotels, Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG), SLIH hotel group, Hôtel-Casino Barrière de Lille, the departmental federation of Gîtes de France Nord et Pas de Calais, Union Nationale des Associations de Tourisme (UNAT) Nord-Pas de Calais, Lille airport, Nord-Pas de Calais Tourisme, The region’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (CCIR) Nord de France, Nord Tourisme, Pas-de-Calais Tourisme, the regional federation of the Nord-Pas de Calais tourist offices (FROTSI).