Commemorations of D-Day : what are the challenges for tourism professionals ?

The "D-Day" celebrates 75 years. On the beaches of normandy, which took place on the d-day landings of the Second world War, but also in several municipalitie

Commemorations of D-Day : what are the challenges for tourism professionals ?

The "D-Day" celebrates 75 years. On the beaches of normandy, which took place on the d-day landings of the Second world War, but also in several municipalities of the region, held many events to celebrate this special date. With 56 memorial sites related to this conflict, the Normandy is developing the tourism of memory and aims to become "the international destination par excellence for the Second world War, oriented towards universal values, embodied in the theater of military operations", according to Atout France, the national Agency of tourism development.

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according To the Insee, the foreign clients coming in Normandy has increased by 7.7% between 2017 and 2018, compared to 7.1% for the rest of France. Many tourists have visited the sites and places of memory, to the tune of 31%.

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Clearly, the anniversary of the Landing is a date high for the region, and in particular for tourism professionals. These are sometimes up to double their turnover in a month in just a week. All agree that the number of tourists will increase on 6 June and will remain important this summer. To this end, the region organises many events throughout the year. Fireworks, picnic giant on the beach of Omaha Beach, or the balls of the Release... The regional Committee of tourism of Normandy provides these celebrations in order to attract not only foreign tourists but also the inhabitants of the neighboring regions. On the 10.8 million of French travellers coming each year in Normandy, 40% come from the region Ile-de-France.

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The anniversary of the Landing is celebrated each year, but it spikes in popularity every five years. Since 1995, according to Atout France, the attendance of museums, places of remembrance, hotels, and restaurants is "stimulated by the cycles of commemorative".

All the hotels are fully booked

"This is a flagship event for hoteliers and restaurateurs of the region," said Yann France, president of the Union Trades and Industries of the Hospitality of the Calvados 14 (UMIH 14). "All the hotels are fully booked for the week of June 3 to 6, and it also generates impacts on the restaurants," he continues.

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This is the case for Denis Dandurand, owner of the breakfast "The 4 winds - Grandcamp", from which the villa is located between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach. After five years of work, he decided to open at the time of the commemorations of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. All the rooms are completed and are now complete for the entire week, but also the following. Located on a cliff overlooking the bay of Cotentin, the villa has not had the need to comment on the sites of online reservations to seduce.

hotels are also full, including that of Anne-Florence and Paul Hontang, the "D-Day Aviators". Located in Arromanches-les-Bains, the hotel has saved its first reservations there a year and a half. Among the guests expected, two war veterans, accompanied by their families, but also several british journalists from the BBC. On the other hand, the owner does not wish to surf on the anniversary to generate a financial profit. "These two veterans come every year for the past three years and we are staying there for free. This date is in some way of their party," smiles Anne-Florence Hontang. This last is also from little manager, "D-Day Aviators Le Manoir", located on the sea front. There is also all the rooms are occupied. Overall, Yann France estimates that "between 30% and 50%" the increase in the revenues of hoteliers and restaurateurs thanks to this anniversary. And according to him, they should take advantage of overflows for the entire month of June, or even July.

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As every summer, catering establishments hire employees to work the months of July and August. But this year, according to Yann France, they use these "extras" in the month of June. This is the case of Jean-Jacques Gaffié, director of the hotel-restaurant "D-Day House" in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer. While its numbers of personnel amounted to 8 people to work in the restaurant, they go to 14 for the month of June. "Some of them leave the 15 of June and the other at the end of the month," he says. For him also, its turnover has doubled in that time of the 75th anniversary.

"there will be the world throughout the summer"

on the side of The museums of the region, they also are preparing for the 75th anniversary of the landing, including the Caen Memorial which provides several events to attract tourists throughout the season. Franck Moulin, the deputy director smiled, "there will be the world throughout the summer". In fact, he explains that the Memorial is a necessary step for the tourists coming to discover the Landing beaches, in order "to prepare for their trip". The museum speaks of"a very big roar" this week and expects a 30% increase in the attendance. He therefore proposed that, from 7 June, an exhibition "unique" of the four paintings of Norman Rockwell. Having never left the u.s. territory, these paintings illustrate the speech of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1941 "Four Freedoms". With bookings already full until 9 June, the exhibition will run until 27 October. Open every day of the week, the museum is "very reactive", according to the deputy director, and in case of need he knows how to be flexible about the times.

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For the sites of commemoration and, in particular, to the american cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, the most visited, it also expects a lot of visitors and is estimated for June 6, the coming of 12,000 people, 160 of whom are veterans among them, 45 have participated in the landing. For the year 2019, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), the organization american public who manages the site, provides for 1.8 million visitors, as in 2014 during the 70th anniversary.

For the region, the tourism of memory is an important economic lever that is complementary to the tourism offer traditional, already consequent. Indeed, the sector employs 37.730 people and the workforce may grow to over 49.000 in high season. With an annual investment of 537 million euros, of which 71% are returning to the tourist accommodations, the visitor consumption refers counterparty 5.3 billion euros, or 6% of GDP normand.

Updated Date: 06 June 2019, 00:00

Kathleen Lees


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