Tourism activity may have, in natural areas previously spared, a significant environmental cost due to:
• the creation or development of the necessary transport and accommodation infrastructures;
• seasonal overconsumption of natural resources including water but also natural areas themselves;
• Exceeding the capacity of wastewater treatment or household waste treatment.
On the basis of this observation, the Preserve association, together with the competent departments of the Conseil Général and the Prefecture, has conducted a study aimed at promoting solutions that significantly reduce the environmental impact of tourism.
Three tracks are currently being explored on the site of the Biological Reservation of the Monts d’Azur :
1. Reduce the impact of existing or new infrastructures:
The Haut Pays is characterized by the presence of many old buildings of agricultural or industrial origin but also houses sometimes imposing, now abandoned (village of Thorenc). An environmental reflection requires a rehabilitation of the existing building rather than new construction, especially as there are now many techniques of bioclimatic renovation some of which have been implemented by the Preserve Association, with the support of Conseil Général and State.The Haut Pays is also characterized by the beauty and diversity of landscapes still spared. In the next ten years, tourism is expected to develop there. It will then be the responsibility of actors in the sector to take into account the value of landscapes and design accommodation structures, perfectly integrated into the natural environment, space and material saving, and possibly disassembled. This is the concept of the Ecolodge inaugurated in the summer of 2009 as part of rural excellence centers.
2. Manage natural resources: fauna, flora, water:
Tourism, to be sustainable, must imperatively take into account the scarcity and fragility of natural resources. They are a major strategic issue and must be carefully managed.
Developing ecotourism and ecological holidays in a fragile territory and save water or manage waste, organizing site visits and preserve or increase biodiversity, developing the Reserve and identifying ecological services are the daily challenges of those responsible of the Monts d’Azur Reserve.
3. Encourage alternative ways of travel:
Tourist development of a fragile territory makes it necessary to favor transportation which is economically efficient. The wagon hitch is one. Most of the existing tracks can be used provided they have lightweight and perfectly suspended horse-drawn carriages.