American tourists were among the most numerous groups of visitors coming to Quebec last year. The Quebec tourism authorities noted an increase of 9.5% in the number of Americans who have chosen the Canadian province as a vacation destination compared to 2014.
The gas prices and the weakened Canadian dollar are likely causes of the upward trend.
"We are witnessing the return of Americans. Not only is there the power of their dollar, but Quebec has always been an attractive destination for them because it is so European," said the president of the Hotel Association of Quebec City, Michelle Doré.
A market survey conducted by the Office of Quebec Tourism reveals that American tourists appreciate above all the French-Canadian culture, the historical attractions, and the beauty of the region.
However, some American visitors are discouraged by the harsher climate and the unilingual francophone atmosphere. Michelle Doré doubts that the language can be a barrier for Quebec tourism though.
"In Rome, do as the Romans! Do the Americans, because they are in North America, think that English should be ubiquitous? Perhaps. But honestly, I would tone this down."
The Director of the Office of Quebec Tourism, André Roy, does not take offense to see tourists too intimidated by the lack of English signage: "We are in Quebec. They also come for our francophone culture. We should not misrepresent the product. We are authentic," he said.
He also noted that only 5% of the respondents mentioned the lack of English signs in the survey.
67% of American tourists who stayed in Quebec would recommend visiting the region. The study was conducted among 7,000 respondents in 8 US states.
Overall, the tourism balance in Quebec edged up by just 0.2% last year. 4.9 million tourists visited Quebec bringing revenues reaching $1.4 billion.
The tourist season 2016 looks promising for Quebec City as well. "We noted a growth of 20.4% in the number of American tourists and a 11.3% increase in the number of tourists from other parts of the world," said André Roy.