Focusing on developing our tourism offer
Québec City, December 14, 2011 – With 2012 just around the corner, Québec City Tourism (QCT) is making plans to keep Québec City one of North America’s top destinations. That’s why we are drawing on the region’s most compelling events and attractions to bolster Québec City’s already strong market positioning.
Alain April, chairman of the QCT board, wants the Québec City Region come together around a strong, unified brand to deliver a better, more exciting overall visitor experience. “We have to make sure marketing actions translate into actual visitors. In business tourism, we have to keep convincing conference organizers that the Québec City area is a competitive and appealing place to hold their events,” April added.
2011: Taking Stock
The latest forecasts call for the number of business tourism room rentals in the area to grow close to 4% in 2011. Numbers for October already show gains of nearly 13%. Forecasts are drawn from the dynamic “reservation book” produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a tool that aggregates room reservations for hotels with a high percentage of business tourism guests.
However, the latest numbers also show overall tourism numbers in the region for 2011 dropping slightly from 2010 (2.9% lower as of October 31, 2011). For the same time period, the hotel industry saw a 1.6% drop in room rentals. These numbers do not reflect performance discrepancies throughout the area: hotels located in the downtown Québec City generally fare better.
Other tourism sectors also attracted lower numbers of visitors. As of the end of October, sites and attractions were down 6%, stores and retail fell 8%, and restaurants slipped 2%.
The losses observed are believed to come mainly from leisure tourism. August, normally a strong month for vacationers, saw numbers fall 4–5% almost everywhere across the province of Québec, as favorable exchange rates and lower gas prices in the U.S. lured many Quebecers south of the border. On the bright side, the number of border crossings by overseas tourists has risen by close to 5% since the beginning of the year. For U.S. tourists, this number held steady, equaling 2010 rates.
In other news, Québec City Tourism created an advisory committee in 2011 to ensure that players in the tourism industry make sound decisions with a view to developing the regions tourism offer in the medium to long term.
In March 2011 QCT and the Québec Region Hotel Association launched Québec Région Réservations, an online reservation center built into the Québec City Tourism website. In the site’s first nine months, visitors from Québec, Ontario, the United States, France, Switzerland, and Germany made over 2,000 reservations. The Québec City Tourism website (quebecregion.com) saw traffic jump by 64% compared to 2010, with over two million visits between January and October.
Objectives and strategies for 2012
2012 will be a pivotal year in our 2011–13 Strategic Plan. “Québec City has to get its name out as a dynamic, one-of-a-kind destination, while continuing to promote its historic charm. We have to take advantage of our magnificent location on the banks the St. Lawrence. And we also have to sell the region as a four-season destination,” said QCT director Gabriel Savard.
Québec City Tourism’s chief objectives for 2012 are to
- Make our destination more accessible and introduce a shuttle service between the airport and the city
- Strengthen our “winter destination” product by developing a strong cluster of attractions around the Ice Hotel and reinforcing the position of the Québec Winter Carnival
- Enhance our business tourism offer by working to bring major recurring conferences
- Make the Québec City area more attractive as an urban/cultural destination by hosting world-class museum exhibitions and a gourmet food and wine event, the Bordeaux Wine Festival in Québec City
- Organize the history and heritage tourism offer by setting up tours and circuits catering to the military and religious tourism markets
Industry partners including Québec’s tourism ministry, Bureau de la Capitale-Nationale, Conférence régionale des élus, and local development centers (CLDs) also acknowledge the need to boost the region’s tourism offer, and have agreed to join QTC in investing a total of $1.2 million per year under a regional agreement (Entente de partenariat régional en tourisme).
“QCT is increasingly acting as an umbrella organization, bringing together various regional tourism industry players to develop our destination. Our role includes providing strategic, technical, and financial support,” added QCT board chairman Alain April.
In terms of marketing, after honing in even further on its target clienteles in 2011, QCT will work harder going forward to time its advertising efforts to coincide with periods of the year when our clients typically plan and book their vacations. Major campaigns will be rolled out to target U.S. and French leisure tourists, two promising markets likely to help us meet our objective of increasing visitor traffic and spending. All leisure tourism campaigns will again be built around the “This is Québec City” (“Ça, c’est Québec”) theme.
QCT’s marketing plan calls for the organization to earmark 25% of funding for launching new business tourism initiatives. Focus groups held recently with conference planners from Québec and English Canada registered a very positive response to QCT’s marketing strategies. Québec City Tourism and its partners will stay the course, while fine-tuning the tools and creative platforms used for business tourism campaigns.
Two distinct promotional campaigns will be launched in 2012—one promoting the urban tourism product, the other focusing on the nature /adventure tourism product available less than 30 minutes from the city.
In conjunction with members, promotional strategies will be deployed to boost numbers at both indoor and outdoor tourist attractions, which have been falling over the past few years. A major promotional campaign will also target U.S. travel agents and cruise ship tourists to promote Québec City as a premier port to start and end cruises.
QCT is also harnessing the power of new technologies with a new app for mobile devices (iPhone and Android) slated for a winter 2012 release. The app, a tourist guide for visitors once they have arrived in Québec City, takes full advantage of GPS technology.
And lastly, QTC is organizing Forum Vision Québec 2020, to discuss and present tourisme development outlooks and objectives for the rest of the decade. This initiative is associated with the industry performance committee’s provincial government report, to be submitted to Québec tourism minister Nicole Ménard next spring. Influential figures from politics, business, and the tourism industry will be in attendance to discuss issues and draw up a list of priorities to act on.
Québec City Tourism is both a regional tourism association (ATR, for Association Touristique Régionale) and a department of the City of Québec. It boasts nearly 1,000 members and serves an area spanning Québec City, Île d’Orléans, Côte-de-Beaupré, and the Jacques-Cartier and Portneuf regions. QCT’s mission is to guide and lead tourism industry growth and contribute actively to the industry's prosperity through integrated and coordinated initiatives in marketing, promotion, development, hospitality services, and community information.
Director of Marketing
418-641-6654, extension 5480
Director of Communications
418-641-6654, extension 5422