Québec Comes Calling On YVR With Experiences To Share

with Vickie Sam Paget

André Martel, market manager for Europe at Québec Original.

Lea-Ann Goltz, account manager for Québec Original in Western Canada at VoX International and Gerlinde Perera, VP of client services at VoX International.

Juan Pablo Suarez, account director for Québec Original at VoX International.

Sales director Alexandre Caron and marketing director Jean-Francois Gour fly the flag for Station Mont Tremblant.

Mami Kakigi, reservations at Maple Fun Tours Ltd and Mai Imada, group tour operator at Maple Fun Tours Ltd.

Customer experience manager Brid Dunne and training and resource manager Fiona Scott of Fresh Tracks Canada.

Some 130 travel professionals descended upon the super-stylish JW Marriott Parq on Thursday evening to attend the Québec Original Tourism Alliance’s ‘Experience Québec Vancouver’ event -- and they had all signed-up without even knowing that there would be a ‘Build Your Own Poutine’ food station!

It’s true: Canadians love poutine (especially Canadian travel professionals, if the line-up at the BYOP food station was anything to go by) -- but it’s clear that they love La Belle Province too.

Which is exactly why some 14 trade partners travelled west to showcase their products at the event’s marketplace.

Room for Western Growth

They were all in town to vie for a bigger slice of the Western Canadian travel and tourism pie -- and there’s plenty of room for growth from the west. While Ontario currently provides 84.3% of interprovincial visits to Québec, BC lags behind with 3.3%, Alberta with 3.2% and Saskatchewan and Manitoba each with 0.7%.

2017: A Landmark Year

Last year was a massive year for Québec tourism, as the province celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary of confederation as well as the 275th anniversary of the establishment of Montreal.

“2017 was very important for Québec,” explained Juan Pablo Suarez, account director for Québec Original at VoX International in Toronto. “It was an amazing year and we’re here in Vancouver to let the people know that we want to keep that momentum.”

Interprovincial Travellers Booking with Agents

There’s plenty of room for travel agents to play a larger role in Québec tourism. According to Conference Board of Canada statistics, during the summer months, 19.7% of interprovincial travellers book online via a travel agent website and just 5.2% book directly with an agent. In the winter, 19.5% book online using a travel agent website and 5.6% book directly with a travel agent.

New Strategy for Québec Original

This year’s promotional strategy is to focus more on experiences than specific destinations. “Some people choose where they’re going not because of where they’re going, but because of what they’ll do while they’re there,” said Suarez.

As a result, Québec Original has divided Québec tourism products into 14 experiential categories: the great outdoors, the St Lawrence River, countryside getaways, hunting and fishing, wildlife, biking, skiing, snowmobiling, indigenous traditions, road trips, gourmet delights, vibrant cities, culture and festivities.

For the Canadian market, the alliance is focusing on five: the great outdoors, gourmet delights, vibrant cities, culture and festivities.

Quirky Marketing

Québec Original is renowned for its eye-catching marketing campaigns. Last year’s ‘A Room with Many Views’ saw a young couple air-dropped into a new location each evening to wake up in a surprise location each morning.

There is a lot of secrecy around the 2018 campaign, but we do know that it’s entitled ‘Let Go’ and will follow five social influencers as they give up their cell phones to live in the moment and experience of the very best of La Belle Province.

A big hit with agents: the mighty Build Your Own Poutine food station.

Vickie Sam Paget

Vickie Sam Paget Western Correspondent

Hailing from the UK, Vickie Sam Paget is a travel and tourism storyteller located in Vancouver, BC. When she’s not on the road, creating engaging travel content or gazing at the North Shore Mountains, you can usually find her curled up with a good book or sipping a pint of the good stuff in her local Irish bar.

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