Oleron is the vastest French metropolitan islands after Corsica (35 km in length, 12 km in its biggest width, 34 metres in its highlight (in saint Trojan's dune), 90 km of coasts, a surface of 175 km2, 19 000 permanent inhabitants). From XIXth century, connections between the island and continent were assured by steamers. From the middle of XXth century, tubs made the transport of the passengers and the vehicles, until the starting of the bridge in 1966, after two years of construction. Oleron's bridge was the first of this kind in Charente-Maritime. This long road bridge of 3027 meters is free since 1991. When Oleron was not an island, people of the Palaeolithic lived on lands which were not buried underwater. But in ice age, Oleron was separated from the continent. Thanks to the discovery of sites to St Denis and to St Georges, we can date the first occupation of the island in the Neolithic period. Several megaliths, like the most important of Ors: La Pierre Levée, testify of this environment.
[...] On the plan we can see the increase of 30% of the hotel business which is constituted by 34 hotels providing 806 rooms in august 2003. The biggest capacities of residences are in St Georges ( places) and Saint-Pierre-d'Oleron ( places). Oleron possess with Re Island one of the biggest capacity of residence of the department. The number of people in employment in tourism industry varies depending on the period of the year: 600 in winter and 3290 in summer. That is representing a huge difference between January and July. [...]
[...] And then in the future, the number of tourists can again be increased. A lot of tourists come for just one day on the island. They buy their food on the continent, then come on beaches, make sometimes degradations and let their rubbish on Oleron. Make them paying can lead them to spend more time on the island to make profitable their stay, and so buying products of the island. And, of course, it will be free for the inhabitants of Oleron. [...]
[...] Oleron can't take any benefits by being transforming bit by bit into a “dead island”. All those observations can lead to a decrease of the tourism in Oleron. The notion of sustainable tourism is here heavily present. Different solutions can be imagined in order to fight against those problems. At first sight, the main one seems to reduce the number of tourists on Oleron. In that way the island will protects its landscapes. The reintroduction of the taxation of the bridge abandoned since 91 can produce this effect. [...]
[...] The construction of the ‘Petit train de saint Trojan” in 1963 is a good example to show the interest for tourism by municipalities. Then the exemption from payment of the passage in 1991 modified the customs of the guests, more numerous for weekends and small holidays. Analyse of residences Renting, hotels, campsites, mobile homes, houses of hosts, multiple choices of residences of different classes coexist in Oleron. Without counting the multiple private plots of land, of more or less good taste, which shelter controversial residences, but appreciated by those who take advantage of it. [...]
[...] Oleron life cycle We have first to place Oleron on the Butler life cycle curve which can help us to analyse the past and foresee what can be possible for the future. Oleron seems to be in the stagnation period. During the phase of exploration, when the island was not connected to the continent with the bridge, Oleron was just known by few people. Fishermen's small isolated village besides of the island, Saint-Trojan was one of the first municipalities to benefit from debuts of the tourism at the end of the XIXth century. [...]
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