Quebec’s tourist board – Destination Quebec City – is planning to turn the city into a model sustainable urban destination. In the years to come, the tourism office will focus more on circuits and products that will influence travellers to adopt responsible behaviour through their values.

“The organisation’s mission is evolving; we must promote and support the development of tourism in the Quebec City region by fostering cooperation with the community to responsibly generate economic prosperity and sustainable spin-offs,” explains Destination Quebec City (Destination Québec Cité) Tourism Director Robert Mercure.

This will be done through three areas of intervention: the competitiveness of the region’s organisations, the attractiveness of the destination and its influence. In its 2022-2025 strategic plan, Destination Quebec City aims to better respond to the current and future needs of the industry and to be in tune with the values advocated by its visitors.

Travelling differently in a more healthy way

Tourism has changed in recent years. While the number of travellers is increasing, they are also more aware of the privilege of travelling the world, especially since the pandemic. They are also choosing destinations that address their concerns. Quebec City wants to be one of them.

Responsible tourism takes many forms. Destination Quebec City encourages visitors to travel differently: to plan their trips, to use public transit or alternative means whenever possible and to encourage the local economy.

Recent initiatives include the creation of an advisory committee and the implementation of a pilot project aimed at offering free access to the local public transport company (Réseau de transport de la Capitale or RTC) to visitors staying two nights or more in a regional accommodation establishment. Bicycle helmets will also be distributed in hotels located near official bicycle rental terminals.

“Our mandate is to promote the initiatives of Quebec City and the MRCs in our tourist territory, regional organizations and member establishments to visitors,” tells a spokesperson from the tourism organisation.

Taking citizens into account

Another principle of sustainable tourism is to include citizens in the dialogue. Destination Quebec City must do better to improve the quality of life of residents while supporting tourism businesses and establishments in these areas.

This will be possible, in particular, by distributing visitor flows optimally throughout the year and across the entire territory, the organisation assures. Several measures have already been taken in the past, notably in the area of international cruises, and others will be added.

Place Royale in Quebec old town (Photo: Emmanuel Coveney for Destination Québec Cité)

Exploring new horizons

Tourism is not only in summer, nor only in Old Quebec. In order to stimulate balanced traffic, Destination Québec will continue to diversify its advertising and promotions throughout the year by showcasing various tourist attractions outside the usual circuit; by inviting visitors to the Côte-de-Beaupré, Portneuf and Jacques-Cartier regions, among others. The river shuttle between Quebec City and the Côte-de-Beaupré, which will begin operations this summer, is a perfect example of this desire to expand “the vast terrain to be explored”.

Encouraging exchanges

The tourism organisation believes that the Quebec City region has what it takes to become a leader in sustainable tourism, without compromising the performance of its establishments or economic growth. It is through increased collaboration between its partners and tourist establishments that it will be able to affirm its leadership status and achieve sustainable spin-offs.

Destination Quebec City has also called on MTLab and Québec NuméricQc to accelerate technological innovation. From now on, visitors can calculate and offset their carbon footprint directly on its website, with the tool developed in partnership with Carbone Boréal. “Let’s make Quebec City the city of ideas that come to life,” stresses Mercure.

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