Québec, April 3, 2012 – Today, Québec City Tourism (QCT) hosted a day of strategic thinking on the future of tourism in Québec between now and 2020. This event was attended by over 350 people from the tourism and business communities.
QCT’s goal for this event was to establish a strong consensus on the priorities and development projects that will help the Québec City area become a must among international tourist destinations by 2020. As Alain April, Chairman of the QCT Board, pointed out at the beginning of the meeting: “The issue is clear, but the challenge is demanding—we have to be ready to compete with the world. To do so, we will need to be able to expend the effort required; make choices, sometimes decisive and strategic; and take into account our current investment of over one billion dollars, which will shape the new image of Québec’s tourism offer. And we will need to stay focused on our binding priorities.”
In fact, this procedure was first undertaken in summer 2011. Meetings in this regard took place with some 40 regional leaders who play a significant role in the industry. These meetings helped draw up a list of development projects that will have a lasting effect.
To achieve the status of international destination, this day of exchange helped determine that the Québec tourism industry needs to build on its established assets and clearly reposition itself, promoting what will be its development priorities to achieve this status of international destination. “What we want to propose at the end of this day is a structured and well-considered approach that will help us achieve our goals,” added Mr. April.
In May 2011, a task group established by the Minister of Tourism, Nicole Ménard, tabled its report. This committee, of which Mr. April was a member, was composed of Québec corporate executives and tourism industry leaders. The committee recommended that efforts to reposition Québec as a destination on foreign markets and those aimed at renewing Québec’s tourism offer from now on be centred on three solid and real focus areas:
- The two gateways, Montréal and Québec
- The icon that is the St. Lawrence River
- Strong tourist centres with all of the assets or the potential required to attract clients from outside Quebec.
Québec City Tourism consulted regional leaders to provide Minister Ménard with a vision of the tourist product of the Greater Québec Area beyond 2020. Five integrating and other major projects came out of this consultation.
To begin, we call attention to nine projects planned, underway or completed that are already touristic assets for the area: the expansion of Expo Cité’s Centre de foires, the Massif de Charlevoix project with tourist train from Québec, Robert Lepage’s Diamant theatre project, the expansion of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the addition of departure gates and service areas at the Jean Lesage International Airport, the expansion of the PEPS, the extension of Promenade Samuel-De Champlain, the expansion of the Centre des congrès and, finally, the high-end amphitheatre capable of attracting major sports and cultural events. More than 1.2 billion dollars that will downright change Québec as a tourist destination by 2017.
The mutual brainstorming undertaken today by the regional tourism industry led to priorities for the future of tourism in the Québec area. Five key areas stood out:
Accessibility—circulating easily TO and WITHIN the destination
To take advantage of a modern, mobile and connected city. Bridgeheads need to be reconfigured, the airport will become a city within the city, an airport shuttle will be established to better serve hotels in the Sainte-Foy and downtown areas, and the Montréal–Québec express connection needs to be improved and accelerated, but designed based on the tourism industry.
Québec, winter capital of the world
Because of its ability to host a longer winter season, Québec will appear on the world stage thanks to a world-class signature. As the capital of the joys of winter, the city will become an even stronger winter cultural product with, among others, the Carnaval, Ice Hotel, QuébecAdabra! during the Holidays and other winter events like Red Bull Crashed Ice.
Québec, connected to the river
The Promenade Samuel-De Champlain must become an experiential circuit of services with shops, terraces and cafés, and will be extended from the bridgehead to the Île d’Orléans bridge. The Louise Basin will be the site of a multi-purpose urban and marine development project. International and river cruises will enjoy increased support. Major marine gatherings will be renewed. The Aquarium du Québec will be enhanced to create an exclusive emotional experience.
Québec, dynamic year-round cultural capital
A city that moves to the rhythm of its cultural assets and history. Following a themed approach, several tours must be proposed that include museums—both big and small—and galleries. Québec needs to host renowned exhibits that will attract tourists. Robert Lepage’s Diamant theatre project is a good example of this. Wendake, an outstanding product of Native heritage, will also become a high-end experience.
Québec, close to nature and the great outdoors
The Parc de la Chute-Montmorency will become a natural and even more connected starting point. Together, Mont-Sainte-Anne and the Massif offer a world-class ski destination. The facilities at these centers need to be further improved for use in all four seasons. A high-end mountain bike course will provide a corridor of valleys to hurtle down between Vallée Bras-du-Nord, Vallée de la Jacques-Cartier and Mont-Sainte-Anne. In addition, a Québec cycling tour will propose a unique, high-level Québec / Charlevoix / Saguenay route for cyclists looking for performance.
“Even the best marketing campaign could never replace the product,” concluded Mr. April. The projects tabled today will lead to increased tourism revenue and visibility and a better strategic positioning of the destination. A good tourism performance will follow for all industry players, as well as economic growth in the tourism industry throughout the year.
The tourism industry is the second-largest industry in the Québec area. More than 4.5 million tourists travel to Québec every year, generating around 1.5 billion dollars in income and creating close to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs.
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