The French Tourism board seem to have started a bit of a row with it’s latest campaign. They have recently started to promote the D-Day beaches where the Allieds pushed back the Germans as a tourist attraction across the world. However there is a problem which has upset many D-Day veterans especially the British ones.
The problem seems to be that the campaign has completely omitted one of the five major landing points from the Allied attack. Sword Beach where almost 700 troops from the UK were killed or wounded has not been included at all. It’s unusual as the campaign has a very historical feel to it – trying to create the ’secteur mythique’ which is one of the slogans used in the landings. Also omitted is a part of Juno beach where the Canadians landed and some zones which were used for the inland drops.
Is this a deliberate snub or perhaps just the failings of a tourism campaign? It would appear it’s just down to economics, the French want to focus on the other areas purely because of their tourism potential. It is said that the commercial potential of the other areas is much higher than the less tourist orientated Sword Beach area. Although from purely from a visitor’s perspective, some of the less commercialized beaches are much more interesting to visit and certainly more evocative.
There is another reason being raised and that is the tourism board which promotes the Sword beach area is not part of the conglomerate which is launching the campaign. Whether this is true or not there is no doubt it has caused great offence to many – already a petition is being held online with several thousand signatures already.
Some of the controversy though is not understood in France and there is a debate being held over the issue. If you read the French media and check in with the French online media – sites like the news on M6 replay are covering the discussion fairly regularly. If you are outside France you may need to change your IP address by using a French proxy such as this – http://www.theninjaproxy.org/ninja/french-proxy-for-m6-replay/ to hide your real location to use some of the sites like M6 Replay.
You can watch it on video here –