Pyrénées-Atlantiques: The most eco-responsible tourist destination in France?


  • Pyrénées-Atlantiques: touristic destination
  • Eco-responsibility: priority
  • Advantages: biodiversity, ecotourism
  • Procedures: respect the environment
  • Label : quality guarantee

In the heart of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, a tourist destination imbued with eco-responsible values ​​is emerging. Between preserved nature and sustainable initiatives, the region stands out as an example to follow in terms of responsible tourism in France. Let’s discover together the actions and projects that make the Pyrénées-Atlantiques a territory committed to environmentally friendly tourism.

The region of Pyrénées-Atlantiques is booming in terms ofeco-tourism. During the general meeting of thedepartmental tourism agency on June 21 in Saint-Palais, professionals in the sector were listened to to better understand their expectations and perceptions regarding ecological and sustainable initiatives. Max Brisson, president of the agency, stressed that ADT not only works on promotion and at marketing, but also to support local actors.

Initiatives for sustainable tourism

Contrary to popular belief about overtourism, Pyrénées-Atlantiques are working to offer a more diversified, competitive and sustainable alternative. The labels obtained in 2023 in Béarn and the Basque Country bear witness to these efforts. Thanks to these initiatives, a different and more environmentally friendly clientele is attracted to the region.

A future full of challenges and opportunities

The 2022-2027 departmental plan provides for the continuation of this sustainable policy, despite a budget reduced by 5%. Max Brisson reassured that actions would not be reduced, but rather the management of operating expenses. Objectives include:

  • Accelerate the shift towards responsible accommodation
  • Develop offers for various types of customers (families, business customers, small budgets, traveling people)
  • Diversify the hotel offering
  • Supporting the balance of the supply of furnished tourist accommodation
  • Improve economic performance

The reality of high altitude resorts

The management and governance of high altitude resorts represents a major challenge. It is crucial to support them to offer activities in all four seasons, beyond just the winter season. Max Brisson also spoke of the importance of continuing awareness campaigns, such as the one carried out via the “Réussir ma rando” application, which aims to encourage behavior respectful of the mountains and to ensure sustainable cohabitation between pastoralism, tourism and environment.

Encouraging results

The fruits of the efforts made by the Pyrénées-Atlantiques are beginning to be felt. In 2023, the region welcomed 27 million visitors, generating economic benefits of 3 billion euros. Attendance even increased by 2% at the start of 2024, proof that practices eco-responsible attract more and more people.

Innovations and new technologies

The Bivouac tourism innovation platform plays a crucial role in supporting Basque and Béarn players in their innovation process. It allows tourism professionals to develop innovative solutions aligned with ecological objectives.

An essential collaboration

For Max Brisson, it is clear that efforts and changes must be collective. All stakeholders in the region, from accommodation managers to tourists themselves, must commit to a sustainable tourism. Thanks to this cooperation, the Pyrénées-Atlantiques could well become the most eco-responsible tourist destination in France.