The Pas-de-Calais Tourism - Louvre-Lens Tourism Mission 

The reason behind the decision to build the Louvre in Lens and obtain UNESCO World Heritage listing for the mining area was to help drive the region’s economic and social regeneration, along the lines of the cities of Bilbao and Liverpool.

This, however, raised the question of how best to go about developing tourism given that the area had no experience or reputation as a tourist destination and visitor numbers were low. What does an area undergoing regeneration have that is special and unique, and which could enable it to rival with world-class destinations? In the context of fierce competition, with new destinations bubbling up every week as a result of globalisation and the attendant reassertion of local values, how could the area’s singularity be used to best advantage?

This way of framing the challenge threw up two different timeframes. The most pressing need was to welcome and retain the very large number of visitors to the Louvre-Lens (1,359,916 people so far). And then, over the years or decades even, build from scratch a new tourist destination in a region which for the past two centuries had been given over wholly to industry and mining.

The issue was that everything in the tourism sector – even more than in other domains – had to be invented, created, launched, promoted, and carried out. The challenge of creating a different Louvre in Lens – one that was informative, affordable, and innovative – naturally led to thinking of tourism in a different way, as a way of making the territory a place for experimentation, innovation, freedom, and of risk-taking too, where emerging trends could be tested out and developed, along with the practices of tomorrow and new ways of relating to Others and to Art.

Pas-de-Calais Tourism and the Pas-de-Calais Departmental Council

thus launched a campaign to fundamentally turn these clichés on their head, and promote the modernity of the region by involving its inhabitants. It was decided that tourism in the area Around the Louvre Lens was to be promoted in a thoroughly contemporary manner, drawing on imagery and ideas that chimed with current trends in cultural consumption.

We needed to set up a "creative" approach so as to implement our goal of a different, innovative kind of tourism able to employment and economic benefits, based on helping businesses position themselves and ensure they provide what tourists are looking for, as well as boosting their visibility and so driving turnover.

The main Tourism Offices in the area cooperate in this unique, ambitious approach via a joint platform to make the ALL – Around the Louvre-Lens – area a national and international tourist destination.

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