MONTREAL — The 32nd edition of SITV, the International Tourism and Travel Show presented by YUL Montreal Trudeau International Airport, showcased plenty of good news this past weekend: 71% of Canadians are ready to travel and are making plans, according to a 2022 survey conducted by Travelweek and Star Metroland Media.
Taking place Oct. 28-30 at Montreal’s Palais des congress, this year’s conference included exhibitors from more than 100 countries represented by tourism offices and tour operators. Travel advisors from across Quebec were able to meet, network and learn about the latest destination news through SITV presentations organized and sponsored by Profession Voyages, showcasing popular destinations like Morocco, Cuba, Czech Republic, Martinique, Taiwan, Korea, Guadeloupe and Tokyo.
Gwendoline Duval, General Manager of Profession Voyages, Travelweek’s French sister publication, was joined by Travelweek Group Publisher Devin Kinasz, who presented promising travel statistics: 84% of agents report there is “significant pent-up demand” and that Canada is fourth in the world in per capita tourism spend at $942.00.
“We’re behind Australia, Germany and the UK,” explained Kinasz to travel industry professionals in attendance. “Not too bad for a small population size like Canada, and double the U.S.” Rounding out the top 10 are France, South Korea, Italy, USA, Russia and China. RBC has reported a $300 billion savings stockpile in Canada and a huge surge in travel bookings on debit and credit cards.
Canadians also value travel advisors and the work that they do, added Kinasz. Fifty-eight per cent of consumers are more likely to use a travel agent since the pandemic, and 50% of millennials are more likely to use one than baby boomers.
“The pandemic made using travel agents more desirable because of complicated entry requirements, airline changes and cancellation policies. Consumers are leaning on agents for their expertise now more than ever,” said Kinasz.
With a community currently comprised of 10,433 travel agents in Quebec, Kinasz addressed the limitless potential for advisors. In 2019, revenue generated by traditional and online agencies was $17 billion according to the OPC. With more consumers relying on travel agents to get them back out exploring the world, Kinasz also recognized the unique needs and interests of the Quebec market, distinct from the rest of Canada and the U.S.
To showcase the innovative strides made by Quebec travel agencies, Duval introduced Malik Hadid, owner of Voyages Paradis, and his innovative creation: RVP1, a robot that wears many hats.
Speaking to the audience, RVP1, who also serves as a receptionist and can interpret 20 languages, said: “I was designated by my colleagues at Voyages Paradis as a spokesperson, host, presenter of our tours and products. The holding of this show and your presence in large numbers is the best testimony to the end of the crisis.”
Noting how the travel industry has embraced technology, RVP1 added that “we have the right to dream” and that “the best for our industry is ahead of us!”
For more information about SITV go to https://salontourismevoyages.com/en/.