2010 Marketing development plan strategies and activities - Québec City Tourism
November 26, 2009
Winning the race in 2010!
Québec, November 26, 2009 – « 2010 will be a critical year where many defining shifts will take place in order to meet the ambitious objectives we’ve set for ourselves », said Mr. Gabriel Savard, Director of Québec City Tourism (QCT), before 250 participants gathered at the Centre des congrès de Québec for the presentation of QCT’s tourism marketing plan for 2010.
Mr. Alain April, President of the QCT marketing committee, unveiled the strategies for pleasure and business tourism alike. He emphasized the importance of nearby markets, particularly Canada and Québec. In fact, 60% of the budget’s $12.8 million will be invested in these markets and the chosen approaches will involve the Internet, destination positioning in line with our new brand image, and developing closer relationships with wholesalers, travel agencies and reporters in specialized client niches such as cruises. Local industry has also been asked to make a stronger commitment to attracting conferences and business meetings to the region.
2009 was difficult but Québec succeeded in retaining its market shares
At the end of 2008, a reduction in tourism activities was already being seen, with overall decreases, including over 10% respectively in February, May and June. Fortunately, July and August were less affected and growth was seen over 2007, our benchmark year for the plan. By the end of September 2009, there was only a 2.5% gap between the year to date and 2007 and 10.5% compared to 2008.
The information currently available seems to indicate that the pleasure tourism segment fared well in 2009 and that the losses observed were due mostly to a decrease in business tourism, which was to be expected considering the economic downturn that is still affecting financial circles and the business world at large.
Business tourism aside, the tourist attractions sector had the most difficulty in 2009. At September 31, the negative gap with 2008 neared 15% for indoor attractions and about 6% for outdoor attractions. The comparison to 2007 was not much better, as the negative gaps were at some 10% (indoor attractions) and 13% (outdoor attractions).
Boutiques and retailers had a year comparable to 2007 but were down 20% when compared to 2008. A 5% decrease was also seen in the restaurant industry compared to 2008 and 2.5% when compared to 2007. These numbers may also be hiding more significant losses experienced by certain regional businesses, owing to the decrease of American tourists. Furthermore, these averages do not reflect important performance gaps between different parts of the territory.
If 2009 was difficult for Québec, it also was for the rest of Canada. Data from HVS-Canada (lodging in banner establishments) to September 31 2009 indicate that, when compared to other Canadian destinations, Québec suffered the least disappointing results (measured in room sales) for the same period in 2008.
Objectives and strategies for 2010
In 2010, we plan to exceed the Conference Board’s 1.4% growth previsions and are looking for a 2% increase in the number of tourists. This growth, in conjunction with an increase in the length of stays, could represent a 4% hike in the number of rooms sold in comparison to 2009.
Here are the main strategies we will be using:
- Take advantage of the 25th anniversary of Québec City being named a UNESCO Heritage Site to encourage tourists to visit and revisit Québec.
- Invite our clienteles to see the Les Chemins invisibles™ and Le Moulin à ImagesMC shows, but also to participate in 2010’s new sporting events including the Grand prix cycliste Pro-Tour Québec-Montréal and the 2010 World Mountain Bike Championship/Trials.
- Speed up the development of cruise line embarkation/debarkation with our regional partners, the Administration portuaire de Québec, the Jean-Lesage International Airport and the ATR de Charlevoix.
- Sign the agreement between Horizon Culture and the MCCCF for cultural tourism.
- Develop the offers and notoriety of our territory’s RCMs.
- Take advantage of our 27 tourist events and exhibitions, as well as our impressive number of attractions, activities and services geared to increasingly specialized and interested clienteles.
In terms of commercialization:
- Follow through on the actions undertaken through the development of our Web platform.
- Intensify our destination positioning efforts (« drive to web »).
- Put aside certain specialized exhibitions and bursaries in order to concentrate fully on establishing continuous contact with our clienteles (social media).
- Propose work modes that will require more and more support from our affiliated members.
- Continue with our co-developmental, cooperative, and involved approach with regional businesses to improve Québec’s outreach.
- In business and pleasure tourism, concentrate our efforts on selling to nearby markets, considering the current economic context.
- Work on optimizing the participation of convention delegates in confirmed events.
In our markets:
- Québec and Canada will be our priority markets for business and pleasure tourism, particularly for the winter season (2010-2011)
- In the United States, our marketing efforts will be rolled out mainly in the summer on the East Coast (New York) but certain timed interventions in promising sub-markets will also take place.
- Our work in francophone European countries will be maintained considering the progress we’ve made and our obvious competitive advantages.
- In Mexico, only media relations will be maintained because, despite the current hardships, this market holds true potential over the medium and long terms and our competitive advantages are quite significant.
All of these strategies will require us to review our priorities and to realign our staff’s efforts.
Budgetary context for 2010
In 2010, we expect to have a marketing budget of approximately $12.8 M, which is $1 M less than the budget tabled in June 2009.
This budget will come from the following sources:
- 45%: revenues from the lodging tax
- 22%: fees collected from members for participation in QCT marketing activities
- 18%: QCT’s regular budget, allocated by the City of Québec
- 5%: federal government
- 4%: provincial government
- 3%: innovation fund (to be confirmed)
- 3%: joint activities with the territory’s RCMs and partners (ATR, transporters…).
It must be noted that the Québec region was ranked the 5th best Canadian tourism destination in 2007, in terms of tourist traffic (Statistics Canada). The 4,482,000 tourists who visited the region in 2007 spent $1.38 B in the region and helped maintain over 30,000 jobs. Québec keeps gaining recognition, including being ranked the 3rd best destination in the Americas by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler (November 2009) and is also ranked the 3rd best destination in North America, according to Travel & Leisure (July 2009).
« 2009 will not be easy but we are confident that we are well equipped to win the race and to maintain our position at the front of the pack of the most sought-after destinations in North America » said Mr. Dany Thibault, QCT President.
Sylvie Walter, communication counselor
641-6654, ext. 5482