Big battle to win over tourists

The beautiful season is coming and once again international tourists will not be there. Vacationers will therefore come from Quebec and the battle between the 22 tourist regions is launched to attract customers.

• Read also: Launch of a marketing offensive to stimulate discovery of Quebec

“We like the word competition more. Of course, the regions must promote the attractions, assets and businesses of their own hometown. But there is also a collaboration between them, complementary offers. Everyone is trying to make the pie bigger, so that everyone has a bigger share, ”assures Martin Soucy, the head of the Alliance of the Tourism Industry of Quebec in an interview with The newspaper.

  • Listen to the economic column of Yves Daoust, director of the Money section of the Journal de Montréal, on QUB radio:

Lost revenue of $ 2.6 billion

To ensure their promotion and operations, the regions receive a large part of the 3.5% tax on lodging. But last year, the sector suffered the throes of the pandemic with losses of tourism revenues of $ 2.6 billion.

“It means that the regions currently have varying budgets. The biggest drop was observed in Montreal, as 70% of customers come from abroad. Whereas Gaspésie or Charlevoix did well, ”said Mr. Soucy.

This is why Quebec rushed to the aid of the tourism industry in the last budget with an amount of more than $ 200 million, including $ 29 million over two years which is used to promote the Bonjour Quebec brand in domestic markets and international.

Each has its own strategy

With this global promotion envelope, the regions are each betting on their own strategy.

Quebec City upped the ante last week with $ 75 gift cards that will be given to visitors who book for two nights. The City and Quebec are injecting more than $ 12 million for the initiative.

Other regions rely more on advertising and some on well-known personalities such as Julie Bélanger for the North Shore or the comedian Philippe Laprise in Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean.

One of the most visited regions last year, the Gaspé, plays on the contrast of its territory.

“What we are offering is really an experience in terms of content, it is an itinerary, a tour of Gaspésie”, assures Stéphanie Thibaud, Marketing Director of Tourisme Gaspésie.

Quebec is separated into 22 tourist zones

The newspaper looked at the strategy of different regions that will stand out this year.

Gaspesie

  • 682,000 visitors last year
  • Promo budget: $ 400,000 for summer-fall
  • Strategy: We are betting on the Gaspé Peninsula

Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean

  • Promo budget: $ 600,000 for the year
  • Strategy: We focus on the diversity of the region, nature, the Innu territory, and gastronomy

North Coast

  • Promo budget: $ 450,000 for the season
  • Strategy: Take the road trip of a lifetime

Bas-Saint-Laurent

  • 36% occupancy rate in 2020
  • Promo budget: $ 500,000 (summer, fall)
  • Strategy: Take the time to discover Bas-Saint-Laurent

Eastern Townships

  • Promo budget: $ 500,000 for the year
  • Strategy: Better visibility on the internet for local businesses

Attract new customers

Well located between Quebec City and Tadoussac, the Charlevoix region was one of the best performers last year, with an occupancy rate in hotels of 80% compared to 80.7% in 2019.

“We had practically the same figures, almost the same situation as before the pandemic. So, we were lucky and we want it to last, ”said Tourisme Charlevoix general manager Mitchell Dion.

The latter affirms that the regions engage in healthy competition, but that all work in cooperation.

“It is in our interest that all regions have a good season. But internally, we are focusing on attracting as many people as possible to Charlevoix, ”he says.

This year, the Menaud region is focusing more on well-being and relaxation and wants to charm an English-speaking clientele.

“This is a first for us, so we will have an advertising campaign that specifically targets an English-speaking clientele in Quebec,” assures Mr. Dion.

Build a reputation

The Côte-Nord region also has high hopes for the next season. An advertising campaign has been in full swing for several weeks.

“Going to TV is expensive, but we have a reputation to build. We can see that the expense is worth it, and the trend for the past two years proves us right, ”assures Paul Lavoie, general manager of Tourisme Côte-Nord.

The government also wants to increase and stimulate tourism with an initiative, the Explore Quebec on Your Road program, which offers packages at 25% off to customers. The aim is to promote “attractive and reduced price packages”.

“Our goal is to show the population that there is diversity in the regions, there are many pearls that people do not yet know. The pandemic will have taught us that: we are rediscovering Quebec ”, assures Martin Soucy, CEO of the Alliance of the Tourism Industry of Quebec.

To know


Parc national d'Aiguebelle in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Courtesy photo

Parc national d’Aiguebelle in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Aid to the sector touristic

Several initiatives, but in particular an amount of $ 204M which was announced in the last budget, including $ 29 million for the promotion of Bonjour Québec over two years.

In 2020

Quebec’s tourism industry has experienced a drop in tourism revenues of $ 2.6 billion.

A pearl unknown to know ?

Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Two national parks (Aiguebelle and Opémican), outdoor circuits, a mining sector to discover. And this is the kingdom of the outfitter.

Roads to explore ?

Everywhere in Quebec, but two legendary roads, the 132 all around the Gaspé and the 138 towards the North Shore.

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Janelle B. Smith

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