Comcom de Pont

Florence Gautier in front of the old Cluzel pharmacy, rue Thiers, where the Tourist Office will be set up. ©EG

After three years of management by the local public company (SPL) Terre d’Auge Attractivenessthe elected officials of the Community of communes Pont-Audemer Val de Risle (CCPAVR) have decided to take over the reins of the Pont-Audemer Tourist Office, in theEure. They voted unanimously in this direction during the community council of December 12, 2022, choosing to not to renew the concession contract.

“The results did not live up to our expectations, whether in terms of attendance at the Tourist Office, proximity, or in terms of a common strategic vision”, explained then Francis Courelmayor of Saint-Philbert-sur-Risle who has chaired Comcom since September, after the resignation of Michel Leroux.

To put into perspective with the exit of the Covid, the figures put forward by the SPL Terre d’Auge Attractiveness nevertheless show a rather positive development since 2020. Around 10,000 requests were recorded by the Office in 2022, compared to 8,000 in 2021 and 6,000 in 2020. But the intermunicipal authority sees bigger, including in terms of events. “We left the SPL because we can do more and better on our territory”explains Florence Gautier, the new vice-president in charge of tourism.

The Tourist Office is moving

Today next to the music school, the Tourist Office will set up in a few months rue Thiers, instead of the Cluzel pharmacy which moved to the Intermarché gallery. The move was scheduled for October 2022 but the work is just beginning.

“To start the work, we needed an agreement from the DRAC (Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs) and we only got it at the end of December”, specifies Patrice Bonvoisin, community councilor and former deputy vice-president for tourism. The SPL had launched this move project alongside him, leading to a more central position.

On the personal side, a CDD employed by the attractiveness agency ended, but the two Comcom employees at the Tourist Office remained.

“There have been many things done” by Terre d’Auge Attractif

When questioned, the head of the Terre d’Auge Attractif agency is disappointed not to have been invited to speak at a community council, while criticism was made in his absence. The local public company (SPL) is an offshoot of the Terre d’Auge Community of Communes, around Pont-l’Évêque. It is responsible for the Tourist Office, the leisure center and the campsite at Lac de Pont-l’Évêque, as well as the campsite in Lisieux.
Why, in 2019, did the community council vote to delegate the Tourist Office to Terre d’Auge Attractiveness? “Because Michel Leroux and I realized that tourism was a business for professionals,” recalls Patrice Bonvoisin.
The chosen one admits: “There were a lot of things done, but not as many as we would have liked. Unfortunately, the pandemic has come to thwart things. The website, for example, did not see the light of day. The SPL has nevertheless carried out a number of actions: visits to local producers, communication with lodgings and bed and breakfasts, difficult procedures for the Office’s move… It wanted to develop the discovery of the built heritage and the hiking trails.

Heritage, walks, crafts…

What will be the specificities of the new Tourist Office? the inheritance will be a more central notion. “We have a beautiful heritage that is not highlighted enough,” says Florence Gautier. The chosen one thinks of the Saint-Ouen de Pont-Audemer church or the castle of Montfort-sur-Risle. This is why the Theroulde Gallery and the heritage department will work “in close collaboration” with the Tourist Office. The Théroulde gallery, for example, honored the city’s industrial heritage with its exhibitions on leather and paper. Florence Gautier hopes to continue in this direction.

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Old actions will be continued, such as essential summer kayak trips in the canals of the Norman Venice. “When you see the richness that is the Risle, you have to highlight the water. »

On the Val de Risle side in particular, the intercommunality wishes to highlight the walking paths : “It is requested by the inhabitants. Cool rides are a big hit. They can be extended nationwide. Finally, cycle tourism is also an axis of development.

And you should not miss the important events in the area, for example during the Armada in June, many tourists will go to Quillebeuf.

Florence Gautier

Support from Eure Tourisme

Also vice-president of the Departmental Council, the vice-president should be supported by the attractiveness agency created by the Department of Eure, Eure Tourism. The Community of communes also wishes to rely more on local actors such as associations, shops, companies…

For example, the Pont-Audemer campsite, which broke records this year. We also want to work with the lodges, identify them and hold information meetings.

Florence Gautier

Another objective is the development of “artisanal tourism”, via discovery workshops with local artisans. The idea is to liven up the weekends more, for tourists and locals alike.

The previous year, tourism represented a budget of €220,000 within the CCPAVR. Will this figure change due to the new organization and potential investments? It is too early to tell. “We know that tourism costs money,” says Florence Gautier. The CCPAVR budget will be voted in March.

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Comcom de Pont-Audemer regains control of the Tourist Office