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Côte d’Azur: Challenges of the Beach Decree

Few days before the National Convention of beach managers, those in the sector have mobilized to make their voices heard. They want the particularities of the specific beaches to be taken into account.

His feet in the sand, his head filled with questions. Gathered yesterday on the Pirates of Juan-les-Pins beach, players from the tourist sector have unveiled plans for the national convention of beach managers. A second edition will take place at the seaside resort on Wednesday. A large meeting to discuss the future of the trade, which has been challenged by the Beach Decree. And above all, an opportunity to present their second motion. “The first time we asked for an ease in regulation,” says Alain Palamiti, Vice President of the UMIH (Union of hotel trades and industries) for sunbathers, before specifying: “Today we are calling for reform.” One of the terms facing a situation that Michel Chevillon, President of UMIH Cannes hoteliers, likes to describe as “ludicrous” by illustrating some examples: “In the specifications of the new and portable ‘seasonal’ concessions, we have been asked to repack the sun beds every night. Except that in their plans, there is no storage space for them! How would we do it? Load them into a truck every night and transport them back in the morning?”

1,200 direct jobs

As a reminder, by 2020 (deadline for the application for natural beaches) “about thirty beaches out of forty-five will have disappeared” in the city of Remparts, as Alain Palamiti has stated.

If candidates were able to apply before 16 February for the Juanese lots, they will be awarded at the beginning of autumn. An upheaval which, beyond the year which will be announced in 2018 (while all artificial beaches will be untouched by any establishment in Juan-les-Pins) worries tourism professionals. They fear the impact of this “diminishing supply” in the entire sector. “The fewer opportunities there are, the fewer people there will be. And this will affect everywhere, including hotels and restaurants,” says Henry Mathey, Vice President of the local UMIH, while recalling the weight of the resort in terms of jobs: “Beaches represent 1,200 direct jobs. Quadruple that number and you’ll have the number of indirect jobs.” Faced with their many fears, they assure that “we’ll all respect the law”.  However, they’d like if the “specifics of each territory” be taken into account.  “One cannot treat La Baule and Juan les-Pins the same way. The constraints are different.” A message that the pros hope will reach the proper authorities. “If the first time had no effect or reception, we count on that changing,” says Michel Chevillon, placing, like his colleagues, his hope in the imminent political change.

The Decree

The Beach Decree was adopted on 26 May 2006. It involves the future of beach concessions, stating that they cannot exceed twelve years (versus thirty previously). The surface area is also covered by the decree; it has been lowered on natural beaches to a maximum of 20% of the surface (versus 30% previously). On artificial beaches, this rate has gone from 70% to 50%. At the end of the beach season, after private beaches located on artificial sites close, the latter will have to be dismantled in the fall. The general rule is that transportable structures will be dismantled off-season, six months a year. However, this duration may be extended according to the location. Those which are “classed” can extend this period to eight months or even eleven months (for those with a four-star tourist office which is at least twenty-four months old with an average of two hundred rooms) from 1 December to 31 March.

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