Johann Harvey-Simard, journalist, Local Journalism Initiative
Recent sanitary restrictions, as well as those to come, suggest a strong return of business travelers to Lac-Saint-Jean.
As Michael Sheehy, Business Travel Advisor at the Bureau des Conventions Lac-Saint-Jean (BCLSJ), immediately reminds us, “Business tourism has been very slow due to the pandemic. It was the first industry closed due to measures to prevent mass gatherings. »
No matter, he argues, we can already see signs of a resurgence of business tourism in Lac-Saint-Jean. As such, he mentions, in particular, the holding of 8and edition of the Tourism Games in Cégep de Saint-Félicien from 1uh until April 3rd.
Mikael Sheehy also talks about the Dodge Cup, which will take place from April 13 to 17, during which small hockey teams from all over Quebec will play on both sides of the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
“It starts again! “, he concludes, specifying that the BCLSJ has also received “big requests for the fall of 2022”.
At the same time, the BCLSJ itself has resumed more intense campaigning to attract business clients to Lac-Saint-Jean.
“We are resuming provincial events. We will redo the living quarters. We are going to participate in scholarships in Quebec and Montreal. We are looking to rent terraces at the Montreal Olympic Stadium for meetings with sports federations. We are starting to be more aggressive again! »
In addition, the pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of several hotel establishments looking to adapt to the new needs of their customers.
In April 2021, several travel companies, especially in the hospitality industry, announced an investment totaling $10 million to upgrade their facilities.
The investment also included the purchase of audio-visual equipment for remote meetings, as well as the construction and furnishing of facilities for the reception of business travelers.
According to Mikael Shihi, corporate clients make up approximately 50% of hotel traffic in the region, while the other half is leisure tourism.
In Lac-Saint-Jean, sports tourism accounts for almost 50% of business tourism, of which it is a sub-category.
“Here, an event like the Dodge Cup is what makes the difference between financial loss or profitability for our hotels. »
In this sense, Mikael Sheehy points out that the BCLSJ wishes to roll out new strategies in the near future to increase the influx of business travelers other than athletes.
This will essentially include facilitating more corporate events such as congresses, “lacs-à-l’oreille”, symposiums, conferences or training events for professional commissions.
Develop your strengths
Since each region of Quebec is unique, it is advisable for each of them to use their attractions to attract business tourists.
As for Lac-Saint-Jean, it relies in particular on its spa offerings and the beauty of its landscapes.
“If we have an event that only takes place at the hotel and the program doesn’t allow us to enjoy the outdoors, Lac Saint Jean doesn’t stand out. But when we have the opportunity to host paracongressional events, such as at the Zoo Sauvage in Saint-Félicien or Val-Jalbert, it certainly helps us to stand out from other regions. When you come here you must see the lake! Not without reason, tourist tourism in the region is very strong, so we hope to see the same enthusiasm from business customers,” concludes Mikael Chihy.
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