Tourism, a strategic activity for Calais
Over the past few years, the town of Calais and its surrounding area have begun an ambitious programme of urban regeneration and the promotion of tourism in order to increase the appeal of Calais as a tourist destination. Initiatives have included:
- the renovation of the historic district of Calais Nord,
- the highlighting of some of the town’s main heritage features,
- the introduction of a river boat service and the redevelopment of the banks of the Saint-Omer canal,
- the introduction of marketing initiatives (various seasonal events),
- the redevelopment of the seafront and the opening-up of the town towards the port and beach,
- the creation of new visitor accommodation (hotels, hotel residences).
This ambition to increase tourism in the area is based on the combined large-scale implementation of major pivotal projects: a European theme park, a convention & tourism centre, seafront development, and a seaside eco-village and golf resort.
The aim is to capture some of the potential travellers who already pass through Calais and to make the town a recognised and attractive destination in its own right, helping to strengthen the appeal of the Opal Coast and surrounding region (Lille, Louvre-Lens, Boulogne-sur-mer, Le Touquet, Arras, etc).
Heroic Land is a theme park project aimed at visitors across Europe. Situated in an ideal location in Calais at the junction of two major European motorways (A16 and A26), near the ferry port and the Eurotunnel rail terminal, Heroic Land will be similar in size to other French theme parks such as Astérix, Puy du Fou and Futuroscope, with 32 attractions split between six themed sections, all promising adrenaline-filled adventure.
Preliminary technical and planning studies are currently being carried out by Calais Promotion as part of the Project Development Fund which brings together the development agency, local authorities and private companies. These studies will then be sold to future investor-operators. This study phase is supported by the French government as part of its National Town Planning and Development Fund strategy (FNADT).
Key facts and figures:
- A 77-ha site in the Virval business park
- Family market: 1.5 million visitors
- Investment: €265 million, including an integrated 250-room hotel project
- Employment: 1,000 jobs
- Customer base: families from France and around Europe
Convention & tourism centre
This modern and attractive centre to be built at the entrance to the port of Calais will focus on convention activities and live shows, and will be part of a project that will see the redevelopment of the seafront, as well as the opening-up of the town towards its beach and port areas.
Key facts and figures:
- project management: public-private partnership
- target clientele: convention and business clients, plus tourists and families for shows
- 6,000m² site at the entrance to the port and alongside the beach
- Programme: a 500-seat conference centre, a 70-room 3-4-star hotel + 20 hotel residence rooms, 30 housing units
Seaside eco-village and golf resort at the Porte des Deux-Caps
The planned seaside eco-village and golf resort at the Porte des Deux-Caps is an ambitious programme which will see the creation of a combined tourist and residential complex at the foot of Cap Blanc-Nez, facing the Straits of Dover. The plan is to develop a high-quality seaside resort combined with a world-class golf course in a superb setting just a stone’s throw from the Channel Tunnel and the TGV railway station. The development will fully respect the site’s natural setting and surrounding landscapes.
This project is the natural culmination of the redevelopment programme around the cross-Channel rail terminal entrusted to Eurotunnel by the French State 20 years ago. It is also part of a dual strategy involving the regeneration of the old industrial site used to manufacture parts for the tunnel (tunnel segments, concrete), and a project to highlight the tourist potential and landscapes around Cap Blanc-Nez (Grand Site des Deux-Caps).
Key facts and figures:
- location: Sangatte-Blériot Plage
- target clientele: euro-regional, British, Belgian and Dutch tourists who are keen golfers
- development concession: Euro Immo GET (Eurotunnel Group)
- assistance to contracting authority: Territoires Soixante-deux, mixed-economy development company
- 120 ha for the golf course
- More than 500 housing units
- shops and services
- a seafront spa hotel
www.eurotunnelgroup.com: seaside eco-village and golf resort at the Porte des Deux-Caps
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