Marketing Quality Rural Tourism
LEADER I and tourism: some examples
The Gallo-Roman site of Malagne (Wallonia)
document type: case study
keywords: tourism, heritage
source: LEADER technical dossier
Rochefort is a small town in the LEADER area Wallonie
with a reputation for producing quality traditional beer.
Every year, 1.5 million people visit its grottos, among the
most spectacular in the Belgian Ardennes.
Archaeological excavations in the 19th century revealed
that the locality was on the site of a massive Gallo-Roman
"villa". The excavations were broken off after a
short time and it was only in 1992, under the impetus of a
local association and with the help of the Walloon region,
that they re-started. The Walloon Office for Rural
Development (OWDR) jumped upon the opportunity offered by the
LEADER programme to plan to use the site for tourism and
scientific and educational purposes.
The project "Malagne, la Gallo-romaine" seeks
to develop the 3 ha site by reconstituting the environment,
flora, fauna, agriculture, crafts, housing and cooking
traditions of Belgian Gaul from the 1st to the 4th centuries.
There are three phases to the project:
1) archaeological excavation work and the introduction of
livestock (horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, poultry) and crops
(cereals, medicinal plants and herbs) similar to those
existing in the Gallo-Roman age; this first phase is nearing
2) introduction of visitor reception facilities; in
addition to tourists, visitors will include school groups,
students, teachers, researchers.
3) reconstitution of the buildings of the Gallo-Roman
villa and creation of a hotel complex.
LEADER is instrumental in implementing the second phase,
which began in 1993. LEADER I funding have been used to
transform the buildings of the existing farm into workshops,
exhibition and conference rooms and a sales and tasting point
for local products.
The Malagne project is aiming to offer a range of
activities. From Spring 1996, visitors will discover the
farming practices used at the beginning of our era;
foodstuffs will be transformed into local quality products,
sold on the site or used as ingredients for
"Gallo-Roman" dishes served on the site. The craft
industry has not been neglected: local craftsmen are already
giving classes in Gallo-Roman sculpture and mosaic
In the long term, the Malagne site should help diversify
tourism in the region: the project leaders estimate that when
the site is operating at full capacity, 300,000 visitors a
year would not be an unrealistic figure. Eight permanent jobs
have been created so far.
The development of the "villa" has been
inspired by similar experiences in Great Britain and Germany.
Animals descended from ancient breeds have been imported from
Poland and Poitou (France). Since the Roman civilisation
covered a large part of the current EU territory, the project
leaders are counting on the LEADER network to find specimens
of breeds of animals, plant varieties and recipes which
Malagne does not yet have.
Group name: Wallonie (BE01)
Project type: development of a historical site
Total cost: 650 000 ECU
French-Speaking Community and Walloon Region: 325,000 ECU
Municipality of Rochefort: 125,000 ECU
Private: 25,000 ECU
LEADER I: 175,000 ECU