At the dawn of the third millennium, it seems of evident importance to group together under a single identity the most beautiful stretches of the coastline of the planet, and in particular, the bays which are a symbolic link between the ocean and the mainland. The arc shape of bays is in itself a schematic representation of the confrontation or meeting of these two worlds.
This subtle delimitation naturally favours confrontations and exchanges more strongly than anywhere else.
In effect bays, which often have islands which are themselves loaded with mythical interest, have developed in the course of their history particular traits of geography, physiology, hydrology and biology which are very rich particularly in flora and fauna.
In our more and more tormented societies, with an ever faster rhythm, man needs to replenish himself, in his subconscious he, therefore, searches for something tangible of what he considers fundamental values. What could be stronger than the spectacle of “Mother Sea,” source of life, this sea which is the “mother” of our origins, to contemplate the sea is the best way to understand the value and fragility of life.
Put simply this spectacle must not be diminished and the environment must not be marked by the stigmas of a badly controlled or managed modern world. From this stems the ambiguity of bays which attract humans like a magnet and which at the same time refuse a permanent invasion.
How can we reconcile the attraction and the value of these fragile sites knowing that too much passage or badly managed touristic development will ultimately lead to destruction of the site and consequently less interest from the public?
The interest of bays in terms of the environment, on psychology, on touristic activity, all in complementarity with local economic development is obvious, though it must still be underlined. It is the whole reason behind the Worlds most beautiful bays club, which has the objective to contribute through reflexion and exchanges, to ensure that these exceptional sites will remain so in years to come.
Due to this area for exchanging ideas, and concrete achievements, the members of the Worlds most beautiful bays club should or must become international references for intelligent management of coastal areas.
Mr Bruno BODARD
, all members of the Vannes District Tourist Office in 1996.
At the origin, it’s after meeting with Jean Manquat, an unusual character, whose custom it was to disguise himself as Asterix to amuse his contemporaries that the idea came. However, he was both an unconditional “admirer” of the Golfe du Morbihan and a great traveller. On his many journeys, he never ceased to compare the site he visited and “his” Golfe du Morbihan. One day, facing the bay of Rio, he exclaimed: “It’s beautiful, but it’s not up to the Golfe du Morbihan!”, which made the people he was speaking to suspicious. However, a sailor came to his help and fully agreed with him, saying that there was another site in the world even more beautiful than this one, referring to Halong BayJean Manquat immediately went to Vietnam to check what this sailor had said and gone into raptures before the beauty of this site. When he got back to Vannes, he came to see the Vannes District Tourist Office to suggest that we undertake a twinning of what he considered to be the two most beautiful bays in the world, the Bay of Ha Long and the Golfe du Morbihan.
However, to the Vannes District Tourist Office members, this would not have included the Venice lagoon, “daughter” of Vannes and the Venetes people, which is also a site of outstanding beauty and universal dimension. It would have been a pity not to include it. Rather than proceeding with a twinning, whose marriage often occurs before the engagement and which we know rarely resists the passage of time, this is where the idea of setting up the foundations of an international network came from.
The Vannes District Tourist Office, was already working on networking actions and considering that it was a more effective method of “constructing” something with others, chose to follow this principle.
They sent a letter to the persons in charge of the site as being among a list of some beautiful bays they supposed to be.
Following the interest that his project aroused, a first meeting was arranged to set up the basis for the future association. It was held in London on Tuesday 12 November 1996.
There were a great number of highly motivated people present, not to mention those who were unable to attend, so it was decided to create this club and to unite everyone for a constitutive general meeting on 10 March 1997, in Berlin.
During this meeting, statutes under French law for a non-profit making type of association (Law of 1901) were approved and a first committee was elected for three years, until end 2000.
Preserve to Develop
To be a member of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club is to commit oneself to:
- Saving the natural heritage of the bay
- Preserving its identity
- Respecting the way of life and the traditions of those that inhabit the area whilst ensuring economic development compatible with these commitments
Objectives of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World
- To join together to make ourselves better known
- To promote the areas and obtain national and international recognition enabling the use of public forums from which to operate
- To consider together the problems linked to the regulation of tourism flows, the preservation and valorisation of the landscapes and the local economic development
- To be an example of a reasoned approach to tourism in the third millennium
- To encourage the exchange of experience, knowledge and expertise
- To be a bay: The bay must open onto a shoreline with the concave nature of the site largely dominant
- The structure applying must represent all or part of the bay and be locally recognised as such
- The bay must be the object of protective measures
- The bay must present an interesting flora or fauna
- The bay must present outstanding and attractive natural habitats
- The bay must be nationally recognised
- The bay must be emblematic to the local population
- Economic activities in the surrounding area of the bay must be able to coexist
- There should be a potential for economic developments
- The wish to represent the bay and adhere to the values and the actions of the ONG must be clearly shown
- A. Represents a masterpiece of human engineering
- B. Testifies to an exchange of considerable influences in the development of architecture and arts during a given period of time
- C. Gives a unique and exceptional testimony of a living or lost civilisation
- D. Offers an example of a type of construction or landscape illustrating a significant period in human history
- E. Constitutes an example of the occupation of a traditional territory, representative of a culture when the area becomes vulnerable from the effect of irreversible transformations
- F. Is directly associated with events, living traditions and works of art that have a universally renown significance
In all cases, whether it is for the design, the habitat, the materials used or the management of the environment, the site must meet authenticity criteria.
- A. Represents important stages in the history of the Earth, a geological process of great interest
- B. Represents the continuing ecological and biological process with the development of a remarkable and homogeneous eco-system (land and water living animals and plants, marine and coastal environments)
- C. Represents a natural phenomenon or an area of exceptional beauty
- D. Contains natural habitats for the preservation of fauna and flora, especially for endangered species
- E. Constitutes an interdependent, coherent and homogeneous ensemble well representative of a functioning bay
- F. Has a coherent management and development plan that can be used for reference
In all cases, the bay must be legally or institutionally protected either in its entirety or in part.
Based on the Club’s new Statutes, the members proceed with the Board of Officers election.
Elected for 3 years:
- World President: Michel Bujold from Chaleur Bay, Canada
- Future President: Louis Thebault from Mont Saint Michel Bay, France
- Past President: Maria das Dores Meira from Setubal Bay, Portugal
- Vice president for Europe: David Robo from Gulf of Morbihan / Bay of Quiberon, France
- Vice President for America: Enrique Litman from Praia do Rosa, Brazil
- Vice President for Africa: Omar Achy from the Bay of Agadir, Morocco
- Vice President for Asia: Pham Dinh Huynh from Ha Long Bay, Vietnam