Îles de la Madeleine, November 7, 2012 - "For a sustainable economic development of tourism" is the theme under which the 10th edition of the Journée du tourisme was held in the recreation centre of Étang-du-Nord. Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine had chosen this occasion to present the report for 2012 to its members and to the socio-economic actors present.
In 2012, the number of visitors to the Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine site increased by some 10 %. It was the sixth consecutive annual increase of Website traffic. The increase came mainly from the Canadian and U.S. markets. Within the Canadian market, the additional Web visitors were from Québec (+10 %), Ontario (+3 %), Nova Scotia (+19 %), New Brunswick (+13.87 %) and Prince Edward Island (+29 %). Use of the Website also shows an important increase of the number of connections by visitors after their arrival on Îles de la Madeleine. The Association's site has become a prime vacation planning tool and, over time, it has become an essential source of information for the visitors once they have reached their destination.
The fact that surfers increasingly make use of digital tablets and smart phones to visit the Website (increases of 410 % and of 204 %, respectively) is the likely cause of a decrease in the number of pages viewed and of the time spent on the site. As it develops its new Website, the Association will want to make sure that the site is fully compatible with the new digital surfing equipment. The new site will come on line during the spring of next year. The transportation/accommodation search engine having established itself as the premier Îles de la Madeleine vacation planning tool and, it will be the cornerstone of the new Website.
The social media thrust undertaken by the Association three years ago has propelled the Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine Facebook to a level of prominence that is second only to that of its search engines. With its 11,900 admirers, the Association's Facebook page has secured a top ranking among the "fun" pages offered by the Québec tourist regions.
Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine has again distributed, at the various entry points of the archipelago, end-of-stay survey forms for the 2012 season. The survey produced a very significant sampling totalling 1,894 responses. This provides an essential reference for the identification and assessment of the expectations of the tourist clienteles and for the planning of the promotional activities. It is worth noting that the questionnaire, which will remain on line throughout the year, will be useful for an annual update of the visitor profile. It will thus be possible to compile data regarding transportation to the archipelago (air, ferry, cruise), the average duration of the stays, the reservation period for the stays and the amount of expenditures at destination.
Computing the data
Following the production of the study on the economic spin-offs of tourism, the Association will be able to include, in its end-of-season annual report, data for a period of 12 months regarding tourist visitor numbers. This will bring the report in line with those of the other 21 tourist regions of Québec.
The partnership established by the various carriers now makes it possible to extract tourist traffic from the total travel numbers. The postal codes and the corresponding reservations provide information for each month of the year and an aggregate total number for visitors to Îles de la Madeleine in 2012. Maritime transportation remains the principal carrier with 74 % of the traffic. Air transportation accounted for the other 26 % in 2012.
It is estimated that some 62,200 tourists paid a visit to Îles de la Madeleine during the course of 2012*. Because, for a number of years, the summer volume was based on total traffic for the summer months, Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine estimates that relative to the previous summer, the total number of visitors for the summer of 2012 was 49,200. This represents a small decrease of 2.5 %. A larger number of visitors from international cruises in 2012 (a total of 2,100 visitors) is now included in the annual summer totals and will impact significantly the numbers for total entries in future years.
In the future, the number of entries for the year should be used with a certain care. Although it is essential for detailed analyses of the season and of the year, it is only one number among many. Variations in the numbers for visitors on vacation, travellers on business, participants in conventions, workers on major infrastructure projects and visitors from international cruises, as well as the weather conditions, are some of the many other variables that need to be analysed.
Taking into account the economic conditions, a great number of student strikes and the probable adverse effect of the rainy summer of the previous year (word of mouth represents 70 % of the promotion of the destination), Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine has reason to be satisfied with the results of the 2012 tourist season; it equals the average annual number of 50,000 visitors established over the past 10 years.
* The numbers for 2012 presented at the Journée du tourisme held on November 7 include data for November and December 2012 based on an estimate of entries for the corresponding months of 2011. The final totals for 2012 will be published early in 2013 and slight variations in the numbers for these two months are unlikely to have a significant effect on these totals.
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Promotion and Communications Agent
Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine
418 986-2245, extension 227