Tourism indicators for the Québec City area
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The Québec City area had a very successful year for tourism in 2016. The marked increase in visits helped to grow activity index [FR: indice de fréquentation et d’activité touristique] by 6.8% from 2015, reaching a level of 108. Additionally, the hotel occupation rate rose to 65.8%— its best performance in 10 years. As an internationally renowned destination, Québec is finally reaping the benefits of the numerous investments it has made to improve its tourism sector and adapt to the evolving needs of travellers. Some of these efforts have involved advertising conventions and major events. The CMA is also working to modernize cultural and recreational infrastructures. Finally, it is working on expanding its range of lodging and restaurant options.
In 2016, Québec City’s performance in the tourism industry exceeded that of 2008, which was a landmark year due to celebrations of the city’s 400th anniversary. In fact, all indicators improved in 2016. The hotel stays index experienced the greatest increase (7.2%), reaching a level of 111. This means that more than 7,300 hotel rooms were reserved. That figure not only represents an 8.8% increase over 2015, it also exceeds the 2008 record of 7,295 rooms. The time appears to be right for new hotel spaces. Usage indicators for the airport, stores, sites and attractions and even restaurants all rose by 3–7% compared to 2015. They reached levels that have been unrivalled for 8 years.
The increase in tourism was beneficial for the Québec City airport. In total, 1,581,336 passengers passed through the airport in 2016, an annual increase of 2.7%. Current efforts to enlarge and renovate the airport facilities, combined with the eventual addition of a pre-customs clearance station, should help airport authorities to reach their goal of two million passengers by 2020.
Activity also increased around the Port of Québec last year. 102 ships brought more than 150,200 visitors to Québec, compared to 168,000 visitors in 2015. The Port of Québec remains the busiest in the province, attracting approximately 45% of visitors from international destinations, compared to 24% for Montréal and 12% for Saguenay. With the ambitious goal of bringing in more than 400,000 cruise passengers per year within the next 10 years, Québec City’s port authorities are planning some major renovations to improve their facilities. In particular, they are planning to add a second terminal to welcome more cruise ship passengers.
Tourism indicators for the Québec City area were all positive in 2016. This is good news for the various parties that are looking to invest in the modernization and renovation of recreation and tourism infrastructures, as well as the diversification of the region’s sites and attractions. Many stakeholders are willing to pursue these efforts. Some will add new infrastructures and services in order to grow the number of visitors and the related benefits. Others would like to get involved to solidify Québec City’s reputation as a must-see international destination. This is a significant challenge, since the market is becoming more and more competitive and diverse. All of these measures should allow the tourism sector to continue its significant economic contribution to the region; it is currently responsible for 8% of jobs and 3% of the region’s GDP (compared to 7% and 2% in the rest of the province).