The advertising campaign to attract tourists to quebec in the national capital gives disappointing results in the eyes of many traders who have never seen the streets as little busy.
The bet to invite Quebecers to come and enjoy all the attractions of Quebec city in spite of the COVID-19 is far from being won.
“Old Quebec is a desert. It’s been 11 years that I operated my shop, I’ve never seen it. We do not recognize our Old Quebec’, has shared Claire Gagnon, owner of the Ziba boutique, on the rue Sainte-Anne, which can accommodate one hundred guests at a time during the high season.
This summer, as nothing is the same, she and her husband held the fort with one employee.
“It’s true that we had hoped to have a ridership higher than it is today because it does not look like our numbers to business as usual. You can’t rely on the international clientele. Americans, forget it. Same thing for cruise ships. This is a temporary situation that hurts”, she added.
According to a survey conducted by the Quebec Tourism on travel intentions for the summer of 2020 in a context of a pandemic, 33 % of respondents say that they will prefer a stay in nature.
The Gaspé peninsula is the largest of the top five regions to visit. Quebec city slips to second place ahead of the Lower St. Lawrence, Charlevoix and the Laurentians.
“It is almost dead. It is like in the winter. It should always be hope. It gives the opportunity for Quebecers to discover the tourist areas, because it is more quiet. About our sales, it hurts the heart”, shared Sourur Majjadi, manager of the shop The Bird of paradise, in the quartier Petit Champlain.
The hotel Michelle Golden, who owns several other hotels in Quebec, hotel Champlain, considers that the situation is “catastrophic” in the Old-Quebec.
“Quebecers are simply not at the rendezvous,” she said.
“How do you want to happen? Just for the hotel Champlain, I pay $ 200 000 in property taxes. Insurance, this year, in the Vieux-Québec, has more than doubled. I don’t know where I’m going”, she shared.
While its hotels are full during the vacation of the construction, this year, Ms. Golden has to deal with a 35 per cent occupancy on weekends and 20 % on the days of the week.
“The revival of the tourist industry does not work for cities,” says Ms. Golden.
However, the region of Quebec city makes a good figure in the balance sheet of the COVID-19. This is not the reason for which the tourists are missing. Although it is the 3rd region in Quebec in terms of population, the National Capital ranks 7th of the regions for the number of confirmed cases (1896 case as of the date of 14 July on 56 730 in Quebec).
Visitors happy in spite of everything
“We visit each year to see our friends in Quebec city. However, it is rare for someone to just walk in Old Quebec. This year, we said that there would be less world. This is why we are here.”
– Johanne Five-March of Chelsea, in the Outaouais region
“I am 100 % Mexican and I live in Montreal for the past 12 years. It was a special to come to Quebec because it was tanned to be confined. We discover places that we didn’t know, such as the bay of Beauport.”
– Anel Rodriguez de Montréal
“We just bought a new trailer and we wanted to try it. It is said that Quebec was the best place for the first trip. If we stay at home, we will go crazy. It’s good to get out for a bit.”
– John-Roger Savard Rosemere