Tribute to Georges Cazes

Elizabeth Jestaz-Cazes


Ten principles for a fair and integrated tourism development
I remember

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Ten principles for a fair and integrated tourism development

Studies on tourism development and its derived effects often highlight tensions and various traumas brought in by the tourist intrusion in a context insufficiently prepared to welcome it.

Are put in contact, sometimes brutally, without any precautionary measures, traditional economy and its values (ownership, solidarity) and the most « modern » forms of consumption, superfluous or even extravagant. This phenomenon concerns all spaces, tropical seaside areas as well as peri-urban areas, with differences rather in intensity than in nature.

When describing tourism development and in parallel with the creation and the success of the semantics, we notice a frequent confusion, either in terms of functionality (integrated, gentle, alternative etc.) or in terms of ideology (solidarity, sustainable, fair) or philosphical (ethical).

At the risk of reminding some truisms or obvious facts, it should yet be helpful to specialists in national and regional tourism development if we suggest several fundamental recommendations in order to prevent from making the most common mistakes: if, taken individually into consideration, they’re not revolutionary, put together, they describe a tourism development that we will modestly call “reasoned”.

To achieve this goal, at least ten recommendations, listed below, should be taken into consideration in the decision-making process.

1. Give priority, when taking this decision, to local needs and wills for satisfying tourist “demand” (who has the habit of easily taking over “others’ territory” by putting forward pseudo-vocations to targeted spaces). We should proceed to a complete reversal of the traditional norm of evaluating the “offer’s” incomes, by opposing simplistic tautologies too frequently used as: “this attractive area should develop if it had sufficient tourism potential”.

2. Implement as soon as needed, a permanent monitoring tool of changes and modeling trends brought by the tourism intrusion, particularly emphasizing on the site’s intrinsic capacities in different sectors (physical, socio-economical, cultural, political).

3. Strictly follow the concept of “carrying capacity”, highly valuable provided that one should neither hope nor look for an unrealistic precise limit, as in some American studies, and, above all, one should not consider it as intangible, even though simple interventions can noticeably adapt it.

4. Highly decentralize the decision-making process, both for the construction and the protection of spaces (currently, according to French law and from the local community’s point of view, urbanizing these territories is more profitable than preserving them). Provide the necessary conditions for a true local control of the tourism development, avoiding, as much as possible, costly competition.

5. As far as possible, retain on the territory incomes issued from the tourist flow by, on the one hand, supplying local products (building and decorating materials, food and drinks, etc.) while minimizing importing, and on the other hand, collectively using profits (infrastructures, facilities etc.) provided by the tourist site status, so that its limitations and charges will be easier to accept.

6. Remember, at the different stages of development, the main doctrinal principles of “sustainable development”, making it “durable” as defined in the French language, in particular in terms of energy savings, water recycling, environment preservation etc.

7. Favor local labor force, including for managing positions; in order to do that, there should be provided proper training to tourism development, all the more so since there are already existing pioneer forms of local tourism.

8. Preserve natural spaces not yet subject to real-state speculations by taking protection measures: rules on land control, intervention of local authorities, pre-emptive right etc.

9. Do not aim first and foremost the growth in visitor numbers tourist, fairly easy to obtain, but look for a true development including social elements and not only economic results.

10. Continue considerating tourism as a secondary element in a development genuinely integrated; do not forget that tourism is a seasonal activity.

Taking into consideration these ten principles, the planning authorities could expect not only a simple “tourism development” but a genuine “tourism of development”…

Georges Cazes
Elizabeth and Georges Cazes, Paraty (Brazil), in 1995 – © R. Knafou.

I remember

I spent with Georges twenty six years, that left me a lot of memories … By sharing some of them with those who had the opportunity to meet him in their teaching and research activities, or those who only read his works, I wish to develop an approach of the man he was … that they cannot have got to know really for he was so reserved when he was supposed to talk about himself…

I remember Georges as a full-fledged geographer but also not a typical one, charming and natural, expert and modest, specialized and open-minded, tolerant and sharp, social and self-contained, serious and humorous, and as the adoptive father of my children, as a man able to listen to the questions and give the answers, to explain the Catharism movement and how to play cards, to help with a literature paper and enjoy a Frisbee disk game …

I remember how faithful he was to his origins – sometimes he used to say “I am a Pyrenean bear” – a faithfulness that intermingled with his love and respect for his parents; I remember also his lack of pretension which surprised everyone at the village where we used to go often, and among his family because he had “succeeded”, and it did not show …

I remember our stays in foreign countries as “travel idiots”, where Georges remained an observer of the touristic phenomenon, in particular one day when the expert scientist specialized in tourism was nicely swindled by a so-called guide in Marrakech, and how much he laughed at himself for having been manipulated so easily in spite of all his expertise …

I remember the congresses where his communications striked everybody’s mind, but I remember also that he had a lot of trouble to submit to their specific rules because of his anticonformism… especially one night when exchanging business cards with someone, he absentmindedly held a subway ticket to his interlocutor, flabbergasted at such a lack of consideration …

I remember when he refused over and over again “to institutionalize himself” by taking up an administrative and political career, and his determination to be “only” a free-lance researcher that gives spontaneously a lot of his time and energy, with absolute freedom, to his students, to those preparing their thesis, to his peers and research in general …

Finally I remember one afternoon in June, 2002, at the Institut de Géographie in Paris, when Georges declared to his colleagues who attended his early retirement party, that “the circle is now complete”, meaning that the entirely physical difficulty he had that day to walk up the rue Saint Jacques reminded him of the emotional stress he had felt about 4 decades before as he was going to pass his exams to become a teacher of geography…

I don’t want to remember anymore the long years of sickness, the confinement of the traveller, the palsy of the writer, the forced mutism of the teller, the intellectual consciousness untouched inside a petrified body …

Elizabeth Jestaz-Cazes, June 2012


Electronic reference:
Tribute to Georges Caze, Via@, Varia, n°1, 2013, posted on june 14th, 2013.


Philippe Bachimon & Mihaela Marc