The classification of Tourist Offices

Gironde Tourisme supports tourist offices in their classification process in category.

Since July 1, 2019, there are 2 ranking categories.

La Gironde prefecture works in collaboration with Gironde Tourisme for the instruction of the files so that their completeness is checked (Attention, the prefecture will not accept a file which would not have been pre-studied by Gironde Tourisme).

Nathalie CLAUZEL is in charge of supporting tourist offices in their classification process, i.e.:

  • By providing the necessary information and checking the documents in the file transmitted
  • By helping the tourist office via on-site support as part of the animation of the collective quality approach (see formulas)Frame-plate-CatA-gorie-I

What is the classification of tourist offices used for?

Tourist offices can be classified, within the framework of a voluntary approach. The classification constitutes a powerful lever to strengthen the unifying role of the Tourist Office with regard to the tourist action to be developed in its geographical area of ​​intervention. The classification of the Tourist Office in category II allows the municipalities of its area of ​​competence to obtain the designation of tourist municipality and the classification in category I allows access to the classification in tourist resort which constitutes the recognition of a reception of 'Excellency.

Why a new ranking?

The classification set up at the end of 2010 has enabled the professionalization of tourist offices, by defining 3 models of structures according to the ambitions of the community. It was based on 48 rather heterogeneous criteria, integrating many elements on the organization and internal governance of the structure and an emphasis on the physical reception of tourists more than on the digital relationship. There was not sufficient differentiation between the classification in category II and III and this distinction had no legal consequence otherwise. The abolition of category III simplifies the regulations and restores coherence to the system as a whole.

The reform of the classification of tourist offices in 2019 is based on two principles: administrative simplification and better coordination with the tourist designation of municipalities or their classification as tourist resorts. Simplification corresponds to the need to adapt the law to be both more relevant and effective.

The new grid tends towards greater objectivity of the criteria, the choice of themes is more oriented towards the services provided to tourists rather than the organization and internal governance of the structure. This review of the criteria thus made it possible to reduce the number of criteria from 48 to 19, reflecting certain strong orientations:

  • the maintenance of a quality physical reception, in particular for foreign customers;
  • increased use of new technologies (multilingual website and social networks) for informing the public (before and during the stay) and dealing with customer satisfaction (after the stay).

What is the impact of the new classification on offices already classified?

The new regulations entered into force on July 1, 2019 for new files submitted to the prefecture from this date. Offices classified under the old regulations retain their classification, even in category III, until the expiry date set by the prefectural decree. The municipalities can also request the tourist designation or the classification as a tourist resort on the basis of the classification of the tourist office pronounced before July 1, 2019.

What is the classification procedure?

The local authority must request classification in category I or II, on the proposal of the director of the tourist office. The deliberation, accompanied by a file attesting to compliance with the classification criteria, is sent to the Prefect of the department, who has a period of 2 months after receipt of the complete file to make a decision.

The format of the classification application file is free, it must present in a clear and concise manner how the various criteria set by the decree of April 16, 2019 are filled. Gironde Tourisme provides a framework that includes each criterion and the elements expected for each.

The classification is pronounced by prefectural decree taken for a period of five years in view of the elements of the file. This prefectural decree is transmitted to the DGE which keeps an up-to-date table of classification of tourist offices.

Filing file templates 

A complete classification file includes: a classification request letter sent to the Gironde Prefecture, a deliberation requesting the classification of the tourist office and the criteria response file. The file must be submitted in digital version only.

When your file is complete, you send it to Nathalie Clauzel in digital format (Google Drive file sharing, USB key, Wetransfer, etc.). After verification of its completeness, your file will be sent as soon as possible to the Prefecture. Upon receipt, the latter has a period of 2 months to issue its decision (it may make requests for additional information which then suspends this period).

The classification is awarded for a period of 5 years.

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Nathalie CLAUZEL


Tourism Quality Manager for Tourist Offices and pilot of the internal quality-CSR approach
Tel. 06 24 47 73 40