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The purpose of this paper is to examine the adaptation strategies of inhabitants and the forms of participation they adopt in tourism activities in Paris. As public policies have recently recognized the importance of taking into account inhabitants in the tourism development strategy in Paris and its suburbs, this paper proposes an analysis of the different forms of this participation and its stakes for the territories.
This paper gathers the first results of a thesis work in anthropology that is based on an ethnographic method combining participant observation, semi-directive interviews and bibliographic work. Observations took place in Paris and in several cities of the Grand Paris with inhabitants involved in tourism activities, or who are experiencing a difficult cohabitation with tourists in their neighborhoods. Thus, some 40 semi-directive interviews were conducted with inhabitants, members of associations and entrepreneurs. There were also participatory observation works within public institutions, mainly at the Paris City Hall, as well as interviews with dozens of tourism professionals from the private, public and associative sectors.
Not all residents have the same commitment to tourism and they do not all want to meet visitors. The relationship of inhabitants to tourism is complex and heterogenous. Nevertheless, this research shows that the roles played by inhabitants are multiple: producers of tourist services, ambassadors for their city or neighborhood, the permanent resident can also be seen as a product that attracts visitors, and as a tourist himself. The permanent resident offers the possibility of going off the beaten track, and promotes the revalorization of the identity of a territory and its inhabitants.
The originality of this research lies in the choice to focus primarily on the point of view of the visited population in a European capital. Ethnographic work allows for the observation and analysis of practices, in order to understand the stakes of visitor/visitor cohabitation and to anticipate possible movements of anti-tourist rejections.