Synergy between fishing and tourism: Example of the Great Atlantic Scallop Festival in Erquy

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This study is part of the third component of the GIFS program. It focuses on the economic benefits induced in the local economy by the fishing sector through its attractiveness for tourism. In this context, the Great Atlantic scallop festival in Erquy stands as an illustration of the synergy between fishing and tourism. At a local level, this event enables the evaluation of the economic benefits of tourism in relation to fishing.

“What are the economic benefits induced in the local economy by the fishing sector through its attractiveness for tourism?”

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The Great Atlantic scallop festival took place in Erquy on the 12th and 13th of April 2014. This festival is the link between the three components of GIFS: fishing, tourism and the territory. Its objective is to preserve and promote the Breton maritime culture. Fishing for scallops, pride of the Bay of Saint-Brieuc, is promoted in this occasion. The growth of its reputation is ongoing: in 2014, the city of Erquy hosted on average 75 000 people, against 60 000 in 2011.


Figure 1: Landing of scallop during the festival in Erquy (photo : Agrocampus ouest)


Figure 2: Fish auction in Erquy opened for tourists during the festival (photo : Agrocampus ouest)


This research uses an adaptation of the DGCIS method (2012) described by Maurence[1] with a field survey (questionnaire) based on two main principles:

  • The first states that only the exchanges between stakeholders from outside the study territory and local stakeholders may be considered. Thereby, only the expenditures of visitors from outside the study area will be considered
  • The second specifies that only the exchanges induced by persons having travelled specifically for the tourist event will be estimated.

To know the expenses of visitors on the territory, questionnaires hinged on 4 themes were used: the validity of the respondent’s profile, the modalities of presence on the festival (length of stay, reason for attendance, how people have heard of the festival), the assessment of visitors’ expenses (food, accommodation, activities, purchase of souvenirs or scallops…), as well as other descriptive information. The impact assessment takes into account the overall expenses made in the area: the city of Erquy and its surroundings. A total of 700 questionnaires were completed.

After having evaluated the visitors’ expenses, interviews with various stakeholders present during the Great Atlantic scallop festival, including shop keepers, fishermen, restaurant owners, have been carried out to gain some insight into their feelings about the course of the festival.


More than just a festival, the Scallop festival highlights a synergy between fishing and tourism. This synergy revolves around the iconic product of the Country of Saint-Brieuc: the Great Atlantic scallop.

This festival is an opportunity to create an interaction between fisheries stakeholders, who sell their production and communicate on their trade, and tourism stakeholders, who have a role of promotion and communication. This study demonstrates that the resulting synergy benefits both sectors, as much from an economic point of view as from a point of view of image and communication.

On the economic front, this paper illustrates the importance of this yearly event in the local economy. The economic benefits have a reduced spatial scale in the short-term but this study suggests economic benefits in the longer term by means of the enhancement of a territory and the tourist promotion triggered by the Scallop festival. To summarise, whether for the people that came specifically for the festival or not, food represents the largest expense. Thus, the festival induced economic benefits comprised between 1 853 771 and 2 611 750 euros across the study area. Considering all participants overall, this figure is almost doubled, between 3 308 028 and 4 671 947 euros. As point of comparison, the annual turnover achieved in Erquy by tourism is 30 million euros (Tourist Office). Thus, the turnover generated by the festival accounts for about 10 % of yearly profits, which is very significant for a two-day event. In addition, 36 % of festival goers came out of interest for the scallop product. It therefore appears that the benefits generated by the scallop’s attractiveness would be equivalent to 3.6 % of the resort’s annual profits from tourism.

But more than economic benefits, a tourist event related to fishing is an opportunity to promote a trade, men, and a product. The latter is probably the most important element: by communicating on the scallop product, the festival is an opportunity to place it in the foreground. It is the scallop, used as a symbol of the territory that will contribute to the dynamics as well as the promotion of the Saint-Brieuc Country. The tourist that visits the territory will often group together fishing, tourist activities, and the territory.

Finally, through the Scallop festival, it is the link between the activity of fishing and the consumed product that is brought to light in the eyes of festival goers. This last point is of considerable importance in terms of durability. More than a synergy between fishing and tourism, the Scallop festival of Erquy therefore brings to the forefront the mutualism that exists between these two sectors in the Country of Saint-Brieuc.


  1. MAURENCE E., Décembre 2010. La mesure de l’impact économique d’un évènement touristique. EMC/Ministère de l’Economie, des Finances et de l’Industrie, DGCIS ; 159 p. Consulted online the 20 March 2014