Travel and Tourism Trends in Quebec
Where is the travel industry heading? Will the Internet kill the industry? Many naysayers had predicted that the travel agent and other intermediaries would disappear since the travel product was now easily available on the Internet.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the online travel agency today is simply a travel agent who has decided to use a new distribution channel; the World Wide Web! And because the Internet can reach a far greater number of travelers, the travel industry is experiencing exceptional growth. According to Sam Char, general manager of Sunwing Vacations in Quebec, “2009 has been an exceptional year for our all-inclusive packages to our sun destinations.” In spite of the financial crisis and recession affecting the world, Quebec agencies have seen their sales hit a high of 3.7 billion dollars for the period ending October 2009, an increase of 9.7%.
Philippe Sureau, co-founder of Transat A.T. is a firm believer in the role of the travel agent. In a November 2009 interview with e-magazine, Express Voyage, Sureau stated, “what is most important is that the travel agent continue to bring added value to the selling process. The ability of the professional travel agent to sieve through a variety of travel options and recommend the proper choices to his customer will ensure his survival. To this end, education will continue to play a leading role in the training of new recruits who will be capable of combining the human factor to the ever-changing technologies of tomorrow.”
So what can be expected in the next 10 or 20 years?
Canadians are traveling and spending more abroad according to StatsCan. They are taking more trips annually albeit shorter trips. Specialty or niche travel such as golf holidays, cultural vacations, and ecotourism will be on the rise. In general, we will see more emphasis given to responsible tourism; recognizing the benefits that it can bring to destinations in terms of employment and preservation of cultural and natural heritage.
According to market researcher, PhoCusWright online travel has been increasing steadily in the last 5 years. In 2009, cruise line web sites saw an increase of 19%, while hotels had a 13% increase. At the same time, more travelers will be wanting to experience more custom-designed or a-la-carte vacations, which will translate into a continuous demand for culturally-literate and technically skilled agents.