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Tourism in Marseille Report

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Updated: Apr 1st, 2020

Executive Summary

Tourism is believed to be one of the most influential and fastest growing industries across the world. Its growth over the recent years has been on a steady rise with numerous countries across the world witnessing an upward mobility in their tourism industries (Dabour, 2003, p. 25).

According to Sharpley and Telfer (2002, p. 1), both international and global tourism are estimated to be worth US$3.5 trillion.

This report is supported by Lindsay (2003) who states that “worldwide, tourism generates annual revenues of nearly 3 trillion US dollars and contributes nearly 11% of the global GNP (Gross National Product), making it the world’s largest industry.”

In a more recent documentation by UNWTO (2011), the industry of tourism is reported to generate estimated global revenue of US$919 billion just from its exports alone.

This clearly shows the immense value of tourism as a vital aspect in the development and planning of today’s business-oriented world.

Many studies conducted today attest to this fact—with a good number of them prospecting a better future for tourism in spite of being, admittedly, aware of the looming dangers prospected to come in the near future. One such scholar is Kim (2010, p. 1) who says that:

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) forecasts that the world tourism industry will grow at an annual rate of 4.1% by the year 2020 with international arrivals reaching nearly 1.56 billion by the year 2020 in Tourism 2020 Vision, its long-term forecast and assessment of the development of tourism.

In this paper, central focus is going to be on analyzing Marseille as a tourism destination—with special attention being paid on the current nature of tourism and the role of stakeholders in furthering Marseille’s tourism endeavors.


In essence, tourism refers to the act of tourism is the act of travelling for purposes of leisure, recreation and business (Selby, 2004, p. 15-30). Its various categories include heritage tourism, ecotourism, wildlife tourism, religious tourism, cultural tourism, agri-tourism, among many others.

A stakeholder, on the other hand, is simply an individual, organization or groups that has interest in a particular institution and are affected, in one way or the other, by the actions of that particular organization.

Fundamentally, several factors contribute variably to the progress or advancement of tourism.

These factors include (but are not limited to): good management policies by the concerned tourism bodies and people, the availability of rich ecosystems which encourage visits, relative efficacy of financial institutions and viable cooperation among stakeholders (Lindsay, 2003).

However, based on the varying nature of development in countries; tourism development and planning (whether national, regional or international) occurs differently across the world.

According to Stuart and Nicoletta (2006, p. 150-152), stakeholders play the most important role in the success of tourism since most of the other factors cannot be effected without their authorization.

It is for this reason that most studies conducted today tend to focus on variant aspects of the stakeholders.

Needless to state, tourism, just like many other financially-oriented industry, has had its fair share of challenges and limitations including:

  • terrorist attacks in countries, limited or total lack of cooperation amongst its stakeholders and shareholders,
  • negative human activity on ecosystems (for example; over cultivation, poaching or even deforestation),
  • internal and external wars in countries,
  • the unchecked growth of technologies and related facets like globalization (Grimble & Chan, 1995; and Wall, 1997).

As a result, a good number of region, countries or cities have not been able to maximize their potentialities and achieve full efficacy in their tourism endeavors.

It is with all these in mind that, in assessing the nature of tourism in Marseille; all these factors will be relevantly keyed in so that the eminent challenges and limitations are avoided while the strengths and opportunities are proliferated.

Analysis of Tourism in Marseille

Marseille is one of the provinces in France and it has, over the years, been one of the busiest tourist attraction destinations in the world. In fact, it is actually one of the oldest cities in France founded at least 2600 years ago.

The city is one of the few cities that have developed and maintained their cultural heritage. Marseille has, over the years, evolved through various ages and economic challenges to become a revered tourism destination perfectly blended with antiquated and modern attractions.

Today, Marseille is laudably reported to be the second largest city in France located at the heart of the Provence.

In addition, it is a respected historical, cultural and business centre in Europe with its name reputed as being among the finest tourism hubbubs across the world and capital of the Mediterranean (France Guide, 2012).

Touristic Attractions in Marseille

According to France Guide (2012) and World-Guides (2012), the key attractions in Marseille include the following:

Basilique Notre Dame de La Garde

This was a religious catholic building on the heist point of the port of Vieux. One of the unique features on this structure is the enormous bell that measures approximately 2.5 meters / 8 feet in height while weighing 8,324Kgs.

The interior of this building is magnificent with marble decorations as well as murals. Visitors can access the facility free of charge no wander it is a prominent tourist destination in the Marseille.

Centre de la Vieille Charité

This is a cultural exhibition center housing Marseille’s Archaeological Museum and the Musée des Arts Africans, Océaniens and Amérindiens, just to mention but a few.

The centre is, reportedly, located in Panier District of Marseille and was constructed in the 17th century. Other core attractions in this centre include is Italian styled chapel and the main courtyard.

La Cathedral de la Nouvelle Major

Built under Napoleon’s orders as early as in the 19th century, La Cathedral de la Nouvelle Major is yet another site that is prominently visited by Marseille’s tourists. It has a sea view and has a capacity holding of up to 3,000 people.

The interior decorations are a spectacular experience to view filled with the ornate sculptures and mosaics that enhance its beautiful appearance.

Château d’If

This 16th century castle, which was later turned into a prison, is another major attraction in Marseille. It is famously known for the chiefly role in the renowned book The Count of Monte Cristo written by Alexandre Dumas.

The castle is located on an Island which gives a heavenly view of Marseille. The fact that it can only be accessed via a boat trip from Quai des Belges, Château d’If offers great thrill to boat-trip lovers.

Palais du Pharo

This is an impressive residence that was reportedly built as a waterfront residence for Napoleon III. Often, public exhibitions and receptions are held in this place with visitors being accorded the honor of viewing the building’s beautiful interior.

The magnificent view of Château d’If and the sea also makes it a worthwhile attraction.

See Appendix I for Photos of these famous cites.

Tourism Attractions at Marseille (Based Current Visitor Demand and Behavior)

According to Butler (2006, p. 59-62), a destination can be a city, a country, a hotel or any physical phenomenon that attracts tourist. Tourist Area Life Cycle is begins as small area of unknown state but eventually grows into a major cite of attraction.

This happens as the word goes round about the areas attraction and consequently settlement and development in terms of social amenities and infrastructure. Butler argues that every destination has a lifecycle use as many other products do (p. 59).

It is based on this model that other market attractions in Marseille (other than the specific ones earlier discussed) are embodied in the discussions given below.

Even as the city is acknowledged as the elected European Capital of Culture in 2013, Marseille is predominantly committed to its traditional customs, which it honored and upholds a fact seen with its 22 museums, its 17 theatres and performance house, and its 60,000-seat stadium.

The city is a focus for traditional and sporting occasions; bringing together a huge number of celebrations yearly.

Music such as jazz, classical music, dance, folk music and major sporting competitions are part of the activities that are carried out in the events. These are considered as great attractions by most tourists.

Again, in Marseille, there are a number of good hotels for visiting tourist to stay in, the top rated hotel being the Music hotel. The Music hotel provides clean rooms and competitive room services.

The second top rated is the Sofitel Marseille Vieux-Port with the Residence du Vieux Port at the third place. The Vieux Port is, in essence, the heart of attractions in Marseille. See Appendix II for an overview of Vieux Port.

Moreover, the seasonal weather in Marseille has always ensured a constant streaming of visitors throughout the year—with slight decrease in the number of tourists in cold seasons such as winter since it does not encourage outdoor activities.

Majority of the tourists visit Marseille for mostly leisure and luxury. This is influenced by the beaches and coasts that tourist find fun to rest and enjoy the natural breeze from the sea while sunbathing.

With 23 beaches, 14 marinas and 300 days of sunshine per year, Marseille is considered perfect destination for professional and amateur divers, sailors, or even canoeists.

With the bus tickets being very affordable, tourists are able to move around the city for sightseeing. Tickets are offered as one-day and three-day pass and they range to a pocket friendly cost of between 5 to 10.50 Euros which are sold at the ticket equipment at tram and Metro stations, or from a Tabaco (Butler, 2006, p. 11).

This pass allows a tourist to have unlimited access to bus services for the specified number of days as per the purchase plan. Sustainable water management policy has also been an area the city been keen to protect.

The issue of good water management is the reason Marseille is considered as having the best water management system in France.

The tourists in Marseille are said to be attracted to the ambient catering and retail facilities including restaurants and shopping malls.

Other mentionable attractions include: the amiable hospitality of the multicultural society in France, the unique mannerism and distinct culture of the French, the beauty, romance, dazzles, glamour and glitz of the fashion in Marseille among many others.

A map of all these centers and facilities in Marseille can be found in Appendix III.

Stakeholders and Tourism in Marseille

In order to know stakeholders’ roles in Marseille, were must preliminarily know their categories. Darowski et al. (2006) say that “these stakeholders are categorized into three groups: the primary, secondary, and tertiary stakeholders.”

Darowski et al. further advance these categories by saying that primary stakeholders basically consist of “managers, investors, customers, creditors, suppliers, wholesalers/retailers, employees and competitors.”

The secondary level of stakeholders consist of “the natives, local community, government, social activist and the media” while the tertiary stakeholders is comprised of the group formed by the merging of primary and secondary stakeholders.

Regardless of the category, Darowski et al., say that these stakeholders must all ensure that they play the roles that are assigned to them. These roles are as follows.

Elementally, stakeholders play the role of running organizations or rather facilitating the smooth running of various processes. This is what is normally known as sustainable tourism or ecotourism—which denote the vitality of an upward mobility in the tourism sector (Koeman, 2005).

In other words, it should generate economic benefits for the local people and help in improving their lifestyle and well-being while concurrently promoting good international efficacy of the tourism.

As a key note, it should also take into consideration the decisions of the local people on issues that affect their lives. Finally, it should contribute to natural and cultural heritage conservation while build local confidence and pride to the hosting communities.

Grimble (1998, p. 16-20) supports the above fundamental role by saying that stakeholders must ensure that they work hand-in-hand in planning, designing, managing and solving issues that pertain to tourism.

On top of that Swarbrooke (1999, p. 50-70) states that, in fulfilling their mandate, stakeholders must ensure that the level of tourism stays high both domestically and internationally so as to sustain the growth of tourism.

Nonetheless, he notes that this mandate is normally more pronounced on governmental officials and leaders who are answerable both to their offices and the public for responsibly doing that which they were elected for.

Selby (2004, p. 30-40) outlines that these publicly appointed officials have the specific role of creating rules and regulations that govern the tourism industry.

In doing so, they must ensure that they prioritize the needs of their country ahead while intermittently striving to be objective and ensure improvement of ecotourism.

As for other peripheral stakeholders like the private sectors and the general public, their role in the development of tourism is not out-rightly spelt out like the public officials. However, they still stand to be counted as stakeholders based on the huge role they play in augmenting efficacy.

For example, local communities should organize themselves in a way that they are able to welcome visitors and guide them rightfully during touring endeavors.

According to Chavez (1999), other key roles played by this latter group include: protecting tourist attractions (especially ecosystems which are the major global touristic attractions), reporting offenders like poachers and coordinating with the public officials in the creation of tourism laws and regulations.

As a candid rule that that is emphasized by most scholars, stakeholders must ensure that they cooperate with each other if at all they are to ensure that their roles are adequately played.

Without cooperation, then it becomes very difficult for their goals to be met effectively thus toning down the overall efficiency in the tourism industry.

Based on these insights on stakeholders, it can be said in summary that, indeed, Marseille has a good stakeholders system that has not only been able to help it progress but it has also created a viable environment for its tourists.

There is not much information available regarding the specifics of the nature of Marseille’s tourism stakeholder activities.

However, France Guide (2012) reports that a lot of cooperation has been witnessed between the primary, secondary and tertiary stakeholders in Marseille, to be specific, and France, in general.

A good example given by France Guide is the increased involvement of the government of France in promoting tourism endeavors in Marseille in terms of funding as well as creation of interregional rules and regulations that encourage efficacy in the tourism industry.

Difficulties/ Challenges of Stakeholder Cooperation in Marseille

In spite of witnessing good progress, there are a number of problems that are still being faced by stakeholders in Marseille at the primary, secondary and even tertiary levels.

It would be practically impossible to highlight all these challenges here. Nevertheless, a brief, yet inclusive, representation of these challenges is given below.

To begin with, tourism stakeholders in Marseille are faced with challenges such as the drastic changes in travel patterns and other logistical problems like poor communication and travel infrastructures.

This makes it very difficult for the stakeholders to co-operate in a unified way or conduct their operations effectively since they cannot easily travel or communicate with each other.

Another challenge is the volatile changes in the economic conditions. An example here is the 2008 economic crisis which devastatingly impacted many economies, including France, thus affecting various stakeholders (Chavez, 1999).

Moreover, Byrd and Cardenas (2009; p. 3-5) argue that the difference in ideologies, where people think differently over the same issue, makes it quite challenging for most stakeholders to make unilateral decisions as required.

This challenge has often been faced places like Marseille (France Guide, 2012). Again, the fact that people come from different multi-ethnic backgrounds often poses great challenges amongst stakeholders.

For instance, if a person of black origin visits a place that is entirely populated by whites, or vice-versa, nature has it that he/she might feel slightly uncomfortable (Fennell & Dowling, 2003, p. 34-42).

The fragmented HRM nature of tourism is also opined as another major challenge to stakeholders’ cooperation since implementation or even of policies becomes difficult.

A good example of the above dynamics of fragmentation is the sophisticated nature of tourism is the plurality of laws across countries whereby different people have different laws thus limiting unilateralism of stakeholder cooperation.

This high level of fragmentation tends encourage a sense of interdependence on other organizations thus making it hard for the stakeholders to create a strong cohesion among themselves.

This difference in laws, rules and regulations is not limited on the international arena, but its tentacles can also be traced at the grassroots of the society thus challenging the stakeholder cooperation even at this basic level.

Other noteworthy include:

  • risks of visiting dangerous areas,
  • ignorance and lack of sufficient knowledge on responsible tourism practices
  • increased pollutions from industrial human activities,
  • high cost of touring some sites and poor weather patterns,
  • insecurity issues like mugging, rape, kidnapping, and conning of tourists, among others.

In essence, most of the problems highlighted above do not just apply to the stakeholders in Marseille but rather to the general public in Marseille which entails the natives and the visitors, as well.

It is based on this reason that the recommendations given below are both from a specific viewpoint (for the stakeholders) and general view (for the general public).

Recommendations to the Betterment of Tourism in Marseille

  • Increased educative programs on the relevance of ecotourism principles and practices being followed
  • Increasing interagency and stakeholder cooperation
  • The establishment of a special tourism branch that specifically oversees ecotourism activities in Marseille
  • Establishment of stringent laws to punish violators of ecotourism principles.
  • Encouraging more investments by both public and private individuals on tourism
  • Encouraging vibrant playing of roles by all stakeholders.
  • Security systems should be improved in Marseille. Members of the tourist community coming into tourism destinations should be thoroughly checked and frisked with the most modern detectors to reduce criminal activities.
  • More hotels and places of accommodation should be provided more so during the tourists peak seasons so that they do not miss good places for leisure times.


From the documentations above, it is clear that tourism plays an important role in any country or region. A lot should therefore be done to improve this invaluable industry.

Commendably, much effort has been put in Marseille (and the world at large) to improve tourism, ecotourism and stakeholder involvement over the recent years.

However, there is still much more that needs to be done in order for tourism to ultimately find a way of strongly sustaining itself and staying devoid of its challenges.

This might seem like a long way to go; but if relevant positive steps are taken, this dream might just be turned into a reality sooner than we think or anticipate.

List of References

Butler, R 2006, The tourism area life cycle, Chanel view, London, UK.

Byrd, E. T., & Cardenas, D. A 2009, ‘’. Web.

Chavez, R. 1999, ‘Globalization and tourism: Deadly mix for indigenous peoples’. Web.

Dabour, N. 2003, ‘Problems and prospects of sustainable tourism development in the OIC countries: ecotourism’, Journal of Economic Cooperation, vol. 24 no. 1, pp. 24-62.

Darowski, L., Strilchuk, J., Sororchuk, J., & Provost, C 2006, ‘Negative Impact of Tourism on Hawaii Natives and Environment’, Lethbridge Undergraduate Research Journal, vol. 1 no. 2.

France Guide, 2012, ‘OTC de Marseille’. Web.

Fennell, D. A., & Dowling, R. K 2003, Ecotourism policy and planning, CABI: Wallingford.

Grimble, R., & Chan, M. K. 1995, ‘Stakeholder analysis for natural resource management in developing countries’, Natural Resources Forum, vol. 19 no. 2, pp. 113–124.

Kim, T. Y. 2010, ‘Establishment of a tourism network in the Korea-Japan strait’. Web.

Koeman, A. 1995, ‘Sustainable tourism and Ecotourism’. Web.

Lindsay, H. E. 2003, ‘Ecotourism: the promise and perils of environmentally-oriented travel’. Web.

Selby, M. 2004, Understanding urban tourism: image, culture and experience. Tauris, New York.

Sharpley, R., & Telfer, D. J. 2002, Tourism and development: concepts and issues, Channel View Publications, Bristol.

Stuart, P. C., & Nicoletta, C 2006, ‘Sustainable tourism development strategy in WWF pan parks: CASE OF a Swedish and Romanian national park’, Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, vol. 6 no. 2, p. 150-167.

Swarbrooke, J. 1999, Sustainable tourism management, CABI: Wallingford.

UNWTO, 2011, ‘UNWTO tourism highlights 2011 edition’. Web.

Wall, G 1997, ‘Is ecotourism sustainable?’, Environmental management, vol. 21, p. 483-491.

World-Guides, 2012, ‘’. Web.


Appendix I: Touristic Attractions in Marseille

Basilique Notre Dame de La Garde

Basilique Notre Dame de La Garde
Source: World-Guides.

Centre de la Vieille Charité

Centre de la Vieille Charité
Source: World-Guides.

La Cathedral de la Nouvelle Major

La Cathedral de la Nouvelle Major
Source: World-Guides.

Château d’If

Château d'If
Source: World-Guides.

Palais du Pharo

Palais du Pharo
Source: World-Guides.

Appendix II: Different Views of Vieux Port

Views of Vieux Port: #1
Source: . Web.
Views of Vieux Port: #2
Source: . Web.
Views of Vieux Port: #3
Source: . Web.

Appendix III: Marseille Tourist Map

Marseille Tourist Map
Source: . Web.
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