Bordeaux, Deauville, Marseille, Nancy and Rennes : First French Destinations certified “Sustainable & Innovative Destination”  to accelerate progress on issues of sustainable tourism and an eco-responsible events industry 


Acting in concert, constantly and at grassroots level. The France Congrès et Evénements network, made up of some fifty destination towns and cities, is the driving force behind this new national standard co-developed with nine pilot territories*, five of which have now been awarded official “Sustainable & Innovative Destination” certification by Bureau Veritas France.

Comprising eight challenges and 26 actions, the new standard is aimed at destination cities and towns seeking to structure their local initiatives to promote sustainable tourism and leverage the impact of their good practices by encouraging members of the hospitality and service industries (venues, events, hotels, etc.) to contract into their process.  

Sustainable mobility, responsible purchasing, resource conservation, anti-waste initiatives and more

The process calls for a holistic and pro-active approach at the level of a given destination, but also has international ramifications given that each pilot-organisation organising and developing the approach at the local level must first be ISO 20121** certified before embarking on the “Sustainable & Innovative Destination” process.

Earning certification is a key step, attesting to successful realisation of the actions initially designated by the pilot-organisation itself. Each organisation is required to commit to an initial target of a minimum of eight actions (one per challenge) out of the 26 set out in the standard.

Continuous improvement being the underlying principle, the number (and hence the nature) of the actions undertaken by each destination may expand over the three-year certification cycle. 

Also key is the principle of gradual progress in response to the need to act swiftly and to keep pace with the increasing momentum of both public policies and private and civil society initiatives.  

A different way of thinking and working on the development of events and tourism activities, on the highly pertinent scale of the town or city.

In their way, these first French destinations* recognised for their promotion of sustainable tourism are pioneers. Both the value and robustness of the approach rest on five major points: political will at the local level, the field of action covered by the standard, coordination with other local stakeholders, the principle of audit by a certifying body, and the scalability of the standard over time.

25 destinations are set to receive “Sustainable & Innovative Destination” certification in the next two to three years.  

David Lisnard, Chair of France Congrès et Evénements, commented as follows:

“I heartily congratulate the first five destinations to achieve Sustainable & Innovative Destination certification, in the knowledge that many others will follow suit, including Cannes as a pilot territory. With this new label, founded on the ISO 20121 international standard, we are building the future of tourism for our destinations through innovation, in both business and leisure tourism.  The local (or intercommunal) level is undoubtedly the most pertinent when it comes to acting swiftly and developing a structured and engaging policy around the issues of sustainable tourism, and I would encourage as many of our territories as possible to sign up to this unstoppable dynamic and ensure that France continues to lead the way.” 

A standard based on eight challenges, broken down into 26 actions 

Challenge 1: Deploy open and transparent governance

Sample action: Provide audiences with an up-to-date status report on tourist offerings and public policies on innovation and sustainable development.

Challenge 2: Reinforce sustainable mobility to align with the carbon neutral by 2050 trajectory  

Sample action: Encourage short-stay visitors to use sustainable transport services provided, based on an urban travel plan and communication on optimal routes.

Challenge 3: Encourage responsible consumption and combat waste 

Sample action: Encourage purchasing of sustainable products (environmentally friendly and socially responsible).

Challenge 4: Make tourism a driver of inclusion

Sample action: Make the destination more accessible to visitors with disabilities.

Challenge 5: Add value to the destination’s economy and protect its heritage

Sample action: Attract and/or stage events linked to the territory’s centres of excellence.

Challenge 6: Mobilise resources to encourage sustainable innovation in the tourism sector 

Sample action: Use existing digital platforms to promote the eco-friendly initiatives of the destination and its partners.

Challenge 7: Involve tourists, professionals and event organisers in the sustainability dynamic

Sample action: Highlight exemplary initiatives from the hospitality sector, raise tourists’ awareness and involve them in eco-friendly practices.

Challenge 8: Pay particular attention to public safety

Sample action: Inform and raise public awareness of the main safety and security measures in place in the public domain, and any other more specific and/or ad hoc additional security measures at the destination.

* The nine pilot destinations

Biarritz Tourisme

Office de Tourisme et des Congrès de Bordeaux Métropole (certified)

Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes

Destination Deauville (certified)

Office Métropolitain de Tourisme et des Congrès de Marseille (certified)

Inspire Metz

DESTINATION NANCY (certified)

Nantes Métropole

Destination Rennes (certified)

** ISO 20121 is an international standard for sustainable event management systems, designed to promote social and environmental responsibility throughout the entire event management cycle. 

Those preparing to sign up to the process

Destination Amiens

Destination Angers

Office de Tourisme & des Congrès de Caen la mer 

Communauté Urbaine de Dunkerque

La Baule Evénements 

Agglomération de La Rochelle

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

Hello Lille

ONLYLYON Tourisme & Congrès

Office de Tourisme et des Congrès de Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole 

Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur et Régie Acropolis

Saint-Etienne Tourisme et Congrès

Eurométropole de Strasbourg

Tours Evénements

Troyes Aube en Champagne

Valenciennes Tourisme et Congrès

and more to follow…

Access the FCE newsroom: http://newsroom-fce.fr/category/destination-innovante-durable/

France Congrès et Evénements is the association of meetings and events destinations

Chaired by David Lisnard, Mayor of Cannes, the organisation brings together elected officials (mayors and chairs of conurbations) and trade partners (site managers, service providers, etc.) and involves organisers (professional federations, etc.) in its work.

Contact: Céline Fricotté, celin[email protected] – Tel: +33 (0)1 42 65 10 01