Tourism in Quebec | A season that promises to be sunny

Quebecers will head abroad in large numbers, but they will not desert their regions this summer. The summer season looks good across the four corners of Quebec, despite inflation which is eating into the vacation budget.


Posted at 1:53 a.m.

Updated at 6:00 a.m.

Declining enthusiasm

Quebecers’ enthusiasm for visiting Quebec is declining. The share of those who will spend their vacation in Quebec increased from 74% in 2022 to 58% in 2023 and to 54% this summer, according to a survey by the Transat Chair of Tourism at the University of Quebec in Montreal. After the pandemic confinement which limited travel, this is an expected return to normal, estimates Michel Dion, general director of Tourisme Charlevoix. “We will not find the number of visitors of 2021-2022, but it still looks very good for this year. » The Charlevoix region is the second destination of choice for Quebec tourists in 2024, behind Quebec which sits at the top.

Shorter stays

The impact of inflation on the disposable income of Quebec households is perceptible in the tourism industry. “We feel that people want to reduce their expenses,” says Lysandre Michaud-Verreault, of Tourisme Cantons-de-l’Est, “particularly by choosing shorter stays. Last minute bookings are also on the rise, because weather plays an important role in the decision to come to a region where outdoor activities and agritourism abound. “Everything costs more,” adds Stéphanie Thibaud, of Tourisme Gaspésie, “so we make proposals for shorter stays. »

Fewer people on the Islands

PHOTO EDOUARD PLANTE-FRÉCHETTE, LA PRESS

The archipelago receives an average of 60,000 visitors during the summer, a number which had increased to 72,000 in 2022.

The Magdalen Islands remain a popular destination for Quebecers, but the number of reservations on the ferry which provides access to the archipelago is down compared to last year. Reservations are down 6% for the month of July compared to the same period last year, says Claudia Delaney, director of communications and marketing for maritime carrier CTMA. “For the months of June to September inclusive, we note an overall drop in ridership of approximately 3% at present, compared to the same period last year. » The archipelago receives an average of 60,000 visitors during the summer, a number which had increased to 72,000 in 2022. Municipal elected officials toyed with the idea of ​​imposing a fee of $30 per visitor to cope with the tourist influx, an idea that was transformed into a voluntary contribution.

A budget of $1214

The high cost of vacations in Quebec is one of the main reasons given by Quebecers for taking their vacations elsewhere. According to the Transat Tourism Chair, Quebecers plan to spend an average of $1,214 for their vacation in Quebec. Local destinations have an advantage in the current economic context, estimates Lysandre Michaud-Verreault, spokesperson for Tourisme Cantons-de-l’Est, which has also increased its offer of free activities. The region experienced a summer before its time with the solar eclipse of April 8, which brought visitors from everywhere, particularly from the United States. “It’s a clientele who discovered us, who spend more and who will come back,” says the spokesperson.

Lasting stars

PHOTO DAVID BOILY, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Reservations for whale watching cruises are stable.

SEPAQ’s ready-to-camp units, taken by storm during the pandemic, are still just as popular. More than 60% of accommodation of this type in the network was already booked at the end of June, said spokesperson Olivia Jacques. SEPAQ expects a better season than the previous one, which was disrupted by forest fires and floods in the territory. Likewise, activities such as whale watching cruises in Tadoussac do not seem affected by the economic context, according to Lucie Charland, vice-president of Croisières AML. “Reservations are quite comparable to last year,” she says. Tourists will perhaps go to restaurants less and they will shorten their stay, but they will go see the whales because it is an exceptional product, she believes.

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