An opening towards the surrounding areas struggling to give the desired results

In the dialectic of closure to and dependence on the surroundings, the Parc Safari differs from practices presented in the literature. If the difference between the African narration and the narration of rural tourism generates a clean break between the park and the outside, the park makes efforts to be open to its surroundings. Indeed, packaging efforts with local hotels, campsites and hotels in the city reflect an effort to redistribute economic impacts to the surrounding areas rather than integration within the park of all the tourism functions. The park also displays a willingness to promote the rural areas through its integration within the Circuit du Paysan and through promoting local agricultural products in its publications; this integration into an agritourism circuit is not without contradictions.

Negatively, this opening towards the surrounding areas offers a limited redistribution of tourist traffic because only a limited number of visitors attend other tourist sites during their visit to the Parc Safari. This is partly dependent on the time required to complete the tour of the park. Indeed, with an average visit time of six hours the Parc Safari is a self-contained tourist experience, which brings on the question of the enclosure of theme parks’ recreational areas. The visitor passes through the gate in the morning and leaves six hours later to return home. The activity fills a day and the park is mostly visited by day trippers, which adds to the divergent surrounding rural tourism narratives and makes it difficult to consider the park as a step within a circuit, despite partnership efforts.

One of the avenues considered by the park and territorial planners is to increase the recreational offer of the park and encourage the establishment of complementary services and activities around the park. The objective is to create a real tourist commercial centre. This avenue is risky, however, because as this development could encourage visitors to stay longer in the area and attend other sites, it could also strengthen the self-containment of the park. These situations, potential and actual, bring us to our last dialectical, the one between urban and rural development. As a strong dependency on the surrounding areas of the park increases, so does the dependency of the county planning authorities.

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