Last modified: 2015-01-24 by ivan sache
Keywords: office de tourisme | syndicat d'initiative | letter: i (red) |
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Flag of FNOTSI - Image by Ivan Sache, 2 November 2010
In France, tourist information is managed at the local (municipality or group of municipalities) level by two kinds of bodies, the offices de tourisme (O.T.) and the syndicats d'initiative (S. I.).
The first office de tourisme was set up in 1905 in the Alpine
village of Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse. Today, the offices de
tourisme are official bodies regulated by Articles L133-1 - L133-19
and L134-1 - L 134-6 of the Code du tourisme (full text) - a group of legal texts and regulations, whose compilation was decided in 2000 and
completed by Decree of 6 September 2006. Every municipality, or group
of municipalities (which is often the case in rural areas) is entitled
to found an office de tourisme; the respective Municipal Council(s)
shall decide of the legal status and mode of organization of the
office de tourisme, whose main purposes are the tourists'
information and local tourist promotion, in coordination with the
Departmental and Regional Tourism Committees. The offices de
tourisme are more and more involved in the organization of local
events and the sale of tourist products and services.
In 2010, there were 2,494 offices de tourisme, grouped in four categories according to the services they provide (*, 1,084; **, 951; ***, 319; ****, 65).
The syndicats d'initiative are private, non-profit organizations; accordingly, they have no official status and are not listed in the Code du tourisme. Every municipality (or group of municipalities) officially recognized as a station touristique (tourist resort; Articles L133-13 - L133-16 and L134-3 - L134-4 of the Code du tourisme) is entitled to found a syndicat d'initiative, whose purposes are quite similar to those of the offices de tourisme, but with a less pronounced commercial aim. Originally, the syndicats d'initiative were in charge of the management of the events of the tourist season.
The offices de tourisme and syndicats d'initiative are grouped in an officially recognized, umbrella organization, the Fédération nationale des offices de tourisme et syndicats d'initiative (FNOTSI).
Ivan Sache, 2 November 2010
The FNOTSI (website) grants to its members the right to use the well-known "i-logo", which is sometimes placed on a white flag hoisted in front of
the tourist information center.
The "i-logo" is made of a blue square diamond charged with a red, cursive letter "i", whose left and lower sides are outlined in white and whose right side it outlined in yellow. The letter "i" must stand here for "information".
Ivan Sache, 2 November 2010