Marcel, special correspondent.
At the end of a small dirt road overlooking the railway line connecting Marseille with L’Estac, it is in these 18th-century buildings, adjacent to a former rubber factory, that Christina welcomes her guests. This member of the Hôtel du Nord, a cooperative of around 100 residents driven by a desire to re-introduce people to the north of the city, is happy to tell the specific story of her place and neighbourhoods. about. On the Birds of Passage platform, co-founded by Hôtel du Nord and travel agency Ekitour, she is “tourist carrier” like Daniel in Poitiers or Florence in Arcachon. “This platform was originally born from the invisibility of hosts and residents on platforms like Airbnb or some public platforms,” explains Prosper Wanner, co-founder of Hôtel du Nord and Birds of Passage. This platform, which was last launched this summer, has more to offer than classic hosting.
Stories, suggestions for walks with locals, recommendations from members of the “local hospitality community.” “The development of the history of the territory allows you to tell the history of the place to travelers, to have an approach that is different from the approach of a simple platform”, says Prosper Vanner. In Marseille, for example, visitors, whether tourists or those arriving for professional reasons, can discover the history of the local soap or tile factories. It is also an opportunity to walk along sections of the GR 2013 route, created when Marseille was the “Cultural Capital of Europe”.
Advertise train and boat
This travel model, which allows actors and residents of the territory to meet to pass on their knowledge and their heritage experience, migratory birds have already enriched it with communities of residents beyond our borders. In Italy, together with the ecotourism agency Sardaigne en liberté, a joint platform brings together producers, hosts and residents of the eastern province of Ogliastra, nestled between sea and mountains. These are, for example, Stefania and Salvatore, two young Sardinians who decided to start permaculture on the land of the Stefania family in Girazola. Saffron, buckwheat and even fruit trees are grown here, and visitors are invited to plant. “We talked about carbon offsets when we brought travelers here to plant trees, with Stephanie and Salvatore, but the idea was rather in carbon contribution, to support young local producers who practice respect for the environment”, explains Jean-Luc Madinier, founder of the Sardaigne en liberté agency.
Aware of the limitations associated with air transport, a mode of transport that emits a lot of carbon, he is promoting initiatives related to the promotion of trains and boats as part of a sustainable tourism approach. “But in Sardinia it is still difficult to get around by public transport. » Jean-Luc Madinier, who now lives between Paris and Sardinia, also organizes meetings with Gianni, the winemaker at the head of the cantina (wine cellar) of Sa Pruna, located on the heights of Erzu, a village located to the west, to get to know the work of the locals. Ogliastra. “This is a human scale operation where they grow vines with minimal phytosanitary products. »
“Finding Our Audience”
Whether across the Mediterranean or in France, the stakes remain high in the face of online tourism giants like Airbnb. “We are not are not direct competitors to this type of platform. We are promoting a completely different approach, says Prosper Vanner. Even if we didn’t start at the best of times with the Covid crisis, we are starting to find an audience through the platform. » Exchanges have already taken place between the various local hospitality communities. This is the case, for example, with the inhabitants of the hostel for young workers in Poitiers, who came to Marseille in the footsteps of the enthusiasts of the Hôtel du Nord. “It was a real success. says Lola Diligent, who is in charge of animation for migratory bird communities. We can also check in this way the stay offers we make in our different territories. »
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