“I am making an appeal to the world – do not come to Bugarach.” Not the kind of pro-tourism message you’d expect from a mayor. But pity poor Jean-Pierre Delord of Bugarach in France, who is putting off visitors who believe his town’s Pic de Bugarach mountain is due to open up and spit out human-saving aliens during today’s Mayan-predicted apocalypse.
Surely the town should be taking advantage of this influx of visitors and the subsequent raised profile? Allow us, Jean-Pierre, to suggest some ways to monetise your Ripley’s Stomach of a landmark:
* Statutory peak hotels rates for documentary-makers Jon Ronson and Louis Theroux.
* Erect a garden gate atop the mountain. Call it the “Pic de Bugarach Alien Gateway” and charge punters €20 to walk through. Boom. Now buy a new library.
* “I Went to the Pyrenees and all I Got Was This Lousy Interplanetary Redemption” T-shirts.
* Tax breaks to encourage an alien-tackling John Nettles spin-off, “Bergerac in Bugarach”.
* Alien theme park. Only open 18 days a year due to restrictive union laws for French aliens.