Stability is the key word that characterises Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine's overall assessment of tourism on Les Îles during the past year.
The popular appeal of Îles de la Madeleine remains strong within Québec as well as in Canada and abroad. This is evidenced by statistics that show a steady increase in the use of Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine's new Website between late April 2013 (when it was inaugurated) and the end of October. During that period, 212,823 individual visitors (an 11% increase) and 359,618 visits (a 10% increase) were recorded.
The Regional Tourism Association's redesigned Website presents tourism experiences under three headings: Nature, Flavours and Culture. The site is dynamic and navigating has been simplified. Results have been truly impressive. Pages of the various sections have been viewed more than three million times, a 46% increase over the previous site for the same period. Also noteworthy is the fact that the visitors spend more time on the site. The average number of consulted pages is 8.37, a 38% increase over the previous site.
The new site uses the responsive design feature for automatic adjustment to different screen resolutions. Within the archipelago, site usage has registered increases of 112% for tablets, 131% for mobile phones and 33% for computers. The Web site has become an indispensable source of information for visitors who have reached the destination.
It is interesting to note that, among the coastal regions of Eastern Québec, the Website of Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine and the micro site of Les Îles on the Québec Maritime Website are those that register the largest numbers of visits.
The data obtained from maritime and air transportation providers have now been compiled and analysed. Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine estimates at some 60,800 the number of visitors to the archipelago for the full year 2013. The small decrease of 4% can be found in both the maritime and air arrivals. During a number of years, the region kept an annual record of visitors for the summer months only. For comparison purposes, Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine estimates at 49,500 the number of visitors for the past summer season (from May to October).
Maritime transportation, with 73% of arrivals, still achieves the largest percentage. Of that total, the ferry accounts for 62% of arrivals, the Vacancier for 8% and international cruises for 3%.
A decrease in the ferry totals represents most of the shortfall of some 2,000 arrivals for the summer period. It should be noted, however, that the visitors who come to Les Îles by ferry are also the visitors who stay for the longer periods of time: 10.9 nights on average. Thus, the ferry remains the principal generator of revenue for the destination.
For a third year, Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine has also made good use of the data from the survey conducted among actors of the industry. The numbers show that overall activity in the various tourism enterprises has remained stable.
There is a general consensus among the tourist regions that Québec is currently experiencing a difficult economic period and that tourism consumers generally appear to be more prudent in their spending. Generally, expenditures related to food and lodging appear to have been more stable than expenditures related to activities and to the purchase of souvenirs. All in all, Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine considers that 2013, with a total of 60,000 arrivals, achieves a level of relative stability within the most recent three-year period.
The Regional Tourist Association proudly introduces visitor profiles relative to each of three means of transportation used to get to the destination (ferry, Vacancier and air travel), as well as a more general profile of the clientele of visiting tourists. The profiles are based on exit surveys conducted among visitors in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
The four profiles present precise and factual data regarding the socioeconomic makeup and features of the clientele, its provenance, the destination's attractive elements, activities and expenditures on the archipelago, the type of lodging chosen, the duration of the stay, the level of satisfaction and more.
The project was completed with the cooperation of Group CTMA and is an element of the action plan developed from the policy framework for the development of sustainable tourism on Îles de la Madeleine. Financial assistance was provided by the Conférence des Élus Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Analysis of the data was made possible through scientific support of the CERMIM (Centre de recherche sur les milieux insulaires et maritimes).
Finally, it is significant to note that visitors report having spent more than 39 million dollars at the destination. When maritime transportation costs are added, total expenditures represent more than 51 million dollars injected by tourists in the regional economy.
The profiles can be downloaded from the Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine Web site (french only).
Tourisme Îles de la Madeleine
418 986-2245, ext. 225