Q&A: André Martel, european market manager, QuébecOriginal

Andre Martel

How have UK visitor statistics compared this year with last?

The overall figures in 2016 compared to 2015 show an increase of +8.43%.

Has the tourist office launched any new campaigns?

A Room With Many Views was launched in March 2017. A campaign highlighting the diverse range of views, landscapes and experiences Québec has to offer visitors as a destination, creating an official campaign video to capture this idea which follows an American couple who stayed in one room and were then transported to different ‘views’ across the province of Québec over the course of a few days.

What specifically is the tourist office aiming to highlight/promote to UK visitors?

The 14 experiences of Québec. A perfect blend of nature and culture; wildlife and national parks, and vibrant cities such as Montréal. In order of importance for the UK market, the experiences are:

Great outdoors
Indigenous Traditions
Vibrant Cities
The St Lawrence River
Gourmet Delights
Road Trips
Countryside Getaways
(Please see attached for the experiences in detail)

Have you noticed any emerging trends? 

Traditionally British tourists visit the West of Canada but both QuébecOriginal and tour operators are noticing that more and more UK travellers are attracted by the Eastern parts of the country now having visited the west.

Many tour operators are now focusing on Eastern Canada this year. The province of Québec is famous for its dynamic and cultural cities but we are encouraging visitors to go further and to explore the great outdoors and wildlife that the province has to offer too.

Those visiting Eastern Canada tend to spend half of their time in Ontario and the second half in Québec, staying an average of seven nights.

Are there any new developments at the destination? 

In June this year, the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montréal re-opened following a year of renovations at a cost of over £85,000 and the new Mount Stephen Hotel officially opened this summer. Last year Wow Air and Icelandair introduced new flight routes to Québec via Reykjavik with Wow Air offering regional departures from Gatwick, Bristol and Edinburgh while Air Transat started a new route from Glasgow to Montréal.

What are the sales tips for travel agents selling Québec?

Québec’s wildlife and natural landscapes is a huge selling point for Québec with the province home to over 1 million lakes and its very own Big Five.

It is a great destination for families with a range of activities available, the majority of which are easily accessible from Montréal and Québec City.

English is spoken throughout the province in all restaurants, hotels and shops.

Québec is an easy destination to self-drive meaning visitors can make the most of their experience and travel independently.

It is also a year round destination with four distinct seasons and a colourful calendar of events throughout the year whether you’re looking to embrace the sunshine or the snow!

The quality of food and the creativity of Québec’s chefs is another key attribute of the province to highlight along, of course, with the cheerfulness of the Québécois people!

It also has a rich history dating back several hundred years and, today, visitors can learn about the First Nations of the province and can visit the Aboriginal villages and the Indigenous people who live there.

What training and events are you offering travel agents?

QuébecOriginal UK hosts and attends agent training events throughout the year from tour operator training days to the annual Destination Canada roadshow The Keep Exploring Canada Quiz. The QuébecOriginal UK team also visit travel agencies to train staff as well as offering webinars, distributing newsletters and coordinating two group fam trips per year.

We are also launching a sales manual that will be distributed to agents in the autumn. Our yearly Québec sales mission is coming up in September and will take place in London. It will offer agents the chance to meet with regional partners and the tourism board as well as provide the opportunity to expand their destination knowledge with a quiz evening on 21st September with some fantastic prizes to be won.

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