Quebec is going to change: travel will not be the same any more

Le Québec va changer: voyager ne sera plus pareil

The industry of tourism and travel will be painfully of this global crisis that will leave traces in the medium and long term. Our behaviors will change. The Newspaper has appealed to several experts in order to put in light of the foreseeable effects of the pandemic in the years to come.

The local tourism will be the rating

The passion for travel never wanes not. After weeks, or even months of confinement, people will want to escape. They will focus on the local tourism industry by choice, but by obligation due to the reopening of a gradual borders. Their financial resources will also be limited.

The tourism offices are expected to review completely their strategy to target the local markets. “I think that Quebecers will reclaim Quebec,” observes Laurent Plourde, president of the Group Voyages Québec.

“In the short term, it will focus on destinations within rather than outside the country. We will not have the reflex to fly right away,” says Lina Audet, president and owner of Travel Globe-Trotter.

Sun destinations, popular with Quebecers, will find, however, their popularity rating in the future, predict it, when the sanitary conditions improved. “Travels in the South will remain a sort of essential service…”

The plane tickets will be more expensive

The airlines are going through a crisis, as clients, as this man was seen at a counter of an airline company of the airport Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau yesterday, are becoming increasingly rare. Travellers should expect to pay the wholesale price to fly to other destinations after the pandemic.

The increase in the price of airline tickets seems inevitable. Some airlines will not survive the crisis. The other will attempt to replenish their coffers and will no longer be strong enough to offer appealing deals despite the drop in fuel prices.

They “will limit their flights to the destinations the most cost-effective when the business recovery, according to Youssef Elbouziri, the agency’s Safari Trip. “When there’s a crisis, it would be logical for you to drop off the price for some time, but in this case, no one has the leeway to do that,” notes the holder of the Transat Chair in tourism at UQAM, Paul Arseneault.

“For business people who will travel in first, the demand will be greater than the supply. I am convinced that the prices will be stratospheric”, he believes.

Disinfection procedures between each flight, which is inevitably longer, will also have an impact on the profitability of the carriers. “A plane, it is a charge in the air, not on the tarmac,” said Arseneault.

The cruises will be less popular

Images of cruise passengers isolated in their cabin in a foreign port, as he came up with the Diamond Princess in Japan, marked the spirits. Fans of cruises will perhaps turn to the smaller ships in the next few years, believe some experts.

The cruise industry will suffer longer than others. It will take “years” to get back on their feet, writes Michel Archambault, expert in tourism at UQAM. Nobody wants to be stuck on a ship, isolated in his cabin “in the middle of the ocean or in a foreign port, he says.

The images and testimonials of cruise ship passengers quarantined, at the beginning of the crisis, will leave traces and generate a greater distrust. The fear of a new virus will always be present, even if a vaccine comes at the end of the COVID-19.

“These are images that will stay and will continue to feed the tourist imaginary in general. Cruise tourism is more fragile,” points out Habib Saidi, professor of ethnology at Université Laval and director of the Institute of cultural heritage.

The industry will inevitably have to reposition themselves and fall back to maybe, now, on smaller ships instead of constantly push the limits of gigantism, with the cities floating over 6000 passengers.

“This industry will transform, but I am convinced that it will continue”, puts into perspective, however, Laurent Bourdeau, a professor in the Department of geography of Laval University.

The industry will reinvent itself (again)

Sent to the mat on several occasions in the last century in the wake of terrorist attacks, local epidemics or wars, the tourism industry has always been able to get up. The present crisis is planetary, you will have to reinvent itself once again. Businesses will close, but others will be born.

“The industry is condemned to innovate. It is going to turn. It was in a logic of over-consumption. It will be interesting to see how a part of the industry will adapt, so that the other party is going to want to keep the current model”, says Laurent Bourdeau, holder of a chair in tourism at Université Laval.

The crisis is likely to sound the death knell of the problem of the “surtourisme” in large cities, according to Habib Saidi, professor of ethnology at the Université Laval. “We will rather opt for other forms of tourism, small-scale, which promote the smaller towns and villages. The tourism stakeholders are very resilient and will find ways to go above and beyond all forecasts a bit apocalyptic.”

 An uncertain future

“I’m not part of the “doomsday”, but I don’t put no more rose-colored glasses. It may be long [before a normal recovery]. We will never be immune to another pandemic in the next few decades.”

 Paul Arseneault, Transat Chair in tourism at UQAM

“With each crisis, tourism has always been able to take advantage of these disasters, but there you are standing in front of the new. All the world at the same time on the planet is affected. Therefore, it navigates to a view. No one is smart enough to predict all the changes that will occur, but the logic of the volume is going to be attacked.”

 Lawrence Bourdeau, Chair of research on the attractiveness and innovation in tourism at the Université Laval

“We have a unique opportunity to reflect on our own behavior. The number of international passengers was growing exponentially before the start of the crisis, it was a threat to the environment, then we hope that something positive will come out of this crisis and that we will find alternatives to be more sustainable.”

– Thomas Druetz, a professor at the School of public health, University of Montreal

 – With the collaboration of dr. Taïeb Moalla and Daphnée Dion-Viens

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