After two “completely crazy” summers, the tourist season is off to a slower start in eastern Quebec…except on Îles-de-la-Madeleine. A welcome “back to normal” for some, who finally feel like “breathing a little”.
Posted at 8:00 am
“So far, it hasn’t been crowded, but it’s still okay,” says Joëlle Ross, general manager of Tourisme Gaspésie. We expected it to go down. We were very lucky in eastern Quebec in the two years of the pandemic, we had very, very good summers. Completely crazy, even. »
In 2020, visitors forced to camp wildly on Gaspésie beaches caused a stir in the region. One does not get bored of such situations there. “Bookings started very early this spring, things are going well, there are places that are full, others are not,” continues M.me Ross. And the important thing is not the number of visitors, but the economic benefits. If we have a few fewer people, but they stay with us longer and are happier, it’s worth more. »
a good season
“What we see at the moment is stronger than in 2019, but certainly less than in 2021,” observes Paul Lavoie, general manager of Tourisme Côte-Nord.
“Everywhere on the north coast, but also around it, depending on what you hear, there is a 15% to 20% drop in traffic,” assesses David Bédard, operations coordinator for Mer et monde écotours, which operates a camp. summer – and offers sea kayak excursions – a little less popular than two years ago – in Les Bergeronnes, near Tadoussac.
The story is similar in Bas-Saint-Laurent and in Charlevoix, where the crowds are less exceptional than during the last two summers.
“We feel a slowdown,” confirms Tony Charest, CEO of SEBKA, which offers camping, climbing, hiking and sea kayaking in Saint-André-de-Kamouraska, in Bas-Saint-Lawrence.
However, this return to figures comparable to the summers before the pandemic relieves him. “It feels like taking a breath, rather than running,” he says.
Last year, we booked a month in advance. To be honest, surviving 15 years like this would have been unbearable. The quality of services would have suffered. We have to give the world a vacation, with our labor problems…
Tony Charest, CEO of SEBKA
“As the construction holidays approach, most of our tourism companies tell us that they will not be full at the end of the summer,” said Michèle Moffet, deputy director general of Tourisme Charlevoix.
The effect of time
The reopening of the borders, the end of certain incentive measures, such as the on-road packages of the Explore Québec program (which will return for the winter season), and the increase in the price of gasoline, to a certain extent, explain the decrease of tourism, say observers interviewed by Press.
But the bad weather in early summer also played a role. “The conditions were not very good,” said Paul Lavoie of Tourisme Côte-Nord. People are present in the territory, but a little less adventurous, and our operators suffer. »
“It wasn’t hot in June in Gaspésie, it was windy, it rained, but it’s not because of a bad month that we’re going to have a bad summer,” estimates Joëlle Ross, from Tourisme Gaspesie.
The return of Europeans in August, September and even October could have a positive impact on the rest of the season, believes Nathalie Blouin, general manager of Québec Maritime, an organization that promotes the Gaspésie, Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Magdalen. Islands with customers outside of Quebec.
Already in June, 33% of visitors to Percé came from outside the province. It’s a change from last year, when 98% of tourists were from Quebec.
Nathalie Blouin, General Manager of Quebec Maritime
For now, $500 flights valid from 1Ahem June doesn’t seem to have attracted more travellers, at least on the north coast. “This program could be very beneficial in the long run for the region, but today we hear more about canceled flights than crowds thanks to these tickets,” says Paul Lavoie.
Dans l’est du Québec, une région fait bande à part et est en voie de connaître un autre été très occupé: les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, où les visitaurs ont parfois beaucoup de mal à find un hébergement ou à louer une car. “When we look at our figures, our summer is very similar to that of 2021: we have a lot of people,” observes Frédéric Myrand, head of communication at Tourisme Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
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