Tourist Office, 100 Years in the Service of Tourists
It was in 1913 that a “Free Information Office For Foreigners” was set up opposite the station, in the Crombez Park Square, in the rectangular, Art nouveau style bus shelter that is still there today. In May 1930, a Tourist Office was created in the Town Hall. It was to remain there until the bombing of May 1940.
The first paid holidays led the Tourist Department to get involved with popular tourism by creating a roomy youth hostel at 21, Rue du Bourdon Saint-Jacques and a campground at the foot of the St.-Jean and Marvis Towers in 1937.
During the Second World War, the personnel was transferred into other departments, and then seconded to the General Repatriation Police. It was to run Tournai’s Repatriation Centre in 1945.
In 1946, the Tourist Department attempted to promote the city’s artistic and tourist heritage and took charge of the running of the museums in 1947. It was to take its quarters in the Halle aux Draps, after the latter’s rebuilding work that began in November 1947.
It was in 1978 that the Tourist Department moved into the building at 14, Vieux Marché aux Poteries. In 1989, the premises were enlarged and renovated. A 9-minute film was shown there on a 16-screen video wall in order to show Tournai’s wealth of tourist attractions.
In 2001, important work was undertaken to create an even more modern reception area and to install a theatre for the projection of a new film entitled “The Corridor of Time” (a 23-minute summary of the 2,000 years of the city’s history). This new film constitutes the first stage of the circuit of interpretation of the city’s historical heart that is being put in place. The official unveiling of the new premises took place on 13 September 2002, at the same time as the restored and converted municipal belfry.