Summer 2023 tourism thrives in Outaouais despite climatic setbacks
In spite of an array of weather challenges, Outaouais has concluded the Summer of 2023 on a high note, drawing a crowd of enthusiasts to the region’s myriad attractions, as reported by a survey conducted by Outaouais Tourism. Although the weather did pose its share of tribulations, 43% of the tourism businesses in the area rated their summer season as ranging from very good to exceptional, with 37% marking it as good and a minor 20% as average or disappointing, presenting a subtle decline compared to the glowing reviews of Summer 2022.
“Despite the hurdles, the diverse and comprehensive offerings of the Outaouais region continue to resonate with the tourists, especially in sectors such as accommodation, festivals, and museums,” stated Julie Kinnear, the Chief Executive Officer of Outaouais Tourism. However, outdoor businesses bore the brunt of the inclement weather, witnessing a dip in their seasonal revenue.
While 48% of businesses reported a stable or increased influx compared to Summer 2022, 49% attributed a decline in visitor numbers to the unfavourable weather conditions of Summer 2023. The major culprits behind the decline were identified as wildfires, increased penchant for outbound international travel, poor weather, and inflation-related uncertainties.
Outaouais saw a bustling international presence with 75% of businesses welcoming guests from abroad, predominantly from France, the United States, and Germany, in alignment with the figures observed at La maison du tourisme reception desk, insinuating the flourishing allure of international tourism.
The accommodation sector has witnessed a gradual recovery, nearing the pre-pandemic occupancy rate of 71.4% with an average occupancy rate of 68.3% during Summer 2023, indicating a progressive uplift from the preceding years and aligning with the overall occupancy trend in Quebec.
An interesting shift has been noted in tourist preferences, as reported by Julie Kinnear, CEO, Outaouais Tourism. The tourists are leaning toward extended stays and are exploring booking options beyond the conventional weekends, reflecting evolving tourism dynamics.
There's an air of optimism surrounding the upcoming autumn season with almost 70% of respondents anticipating a flourishing season. Outaouais Tourism remains committed to bolstering the region's tourism sector, introducing the 2023 Outaouais Region Tourism Development Program (ORDTP), which is currently open for applications until October 23, 2023.
This initiative embodies the collective endeavor of the Ministry of Tourism (MTO) and Outaouais Tourism to fortify the regional tourism offerings in sync with the destination’s developmental priorities.
Photo caption: Outaouais summer 2023: Resilience in tourism despite nature's challenges.
Photo credit: Tashi Farmilo