Inflation, the exchange rate and the explosion in gas prices will not stop Quebecers from reconnecting with one of their favorite destinations. The beaches of Maine can expect to welcome many tourists from La Belle Province after being deprived of their presence for two years.
“They’re back,” says Sea Chambers owner David Latulippe, who has run the Ogunquit motel for 12 years, happily.
At the end of the line, the man says he was hopeful of finding Quebec vacationers, even if the trips will cost more this summer.
“We have a lot of reservations made well in advance. For many, it’s a family tradition to come to Ogunquit in the summer and they couldn’t for two years. »
The observation is the same about forty kilometers to the north, at Old Orchard Beach, where we find one of the beaches most popular with Quebec tourists in Maine.
“We love our Canadian and Quebec friends! We missed them, not just because they fill our rooms, but because they bring a certain culture that is unique to them,” says the owner of the Alouette Beach Resort, Frederick Kennedy.
The owners of the Alouette Beach Resort, in Old Orchard, Frederick and Anne Kennedy, expect to be overwhelmed this summer, for the first time in two years.
“The phone does not ring off”
On Grand Avenue, a well-known artery of Old Orchard Beach along the sea and where hotels and motels follow one another, the story is the same. The Kebek 3 Motel, 90% of whose summer clientele came from north of the border before the pandemic, expects to see Quebec license plates in droves.
“We’ve been waiting for this for two years, we’re really excited. And the phone hasn’t been ringing for the past few days. We even have Quebecers who have booked for a full month! exclaims Molly Carabatsol, manager of the establishment.
An “appetite” for travel
At CAA-Quebec, we confirm this appetite for travel among Quebecers, even if it will be necessary to pay more for travel, accommodation and food.
“For two years, people have deprived themselves a lot. […] Among the trips that we are selling at the moment, price is not the first criterion,” maintains CAA-Quebec’s director of public affairs, Nicolas Ryan.
“People have an appetite for travel which is very strong at the moment,” he adds.
At the Maine Tourist Office, it is assured that demand from north of the border is very strong. And we don’t hesitate to advertise to attract more tourists.
“With border closures and other restrictions, the state’s tourism economy has virtually fallen to zero. Many businesses located near beaches have struggled to survive,” says Steve Lyons, director of the organization.
Only downside, the older clientele accustomed to frequenting these places could be less numerous. At the Beau Rivage motel in Old Orchard, we wonder if seniors, who make up a large part of the clientele, will be there.
“We have a lot of Quebec families who are coming back and who have been waiting for this for a long time. But older people are more difficult. They are still scared,” says Sarah Alexander, manager of the establishment, who expects to receive half as many travelers from La Belle Province as in 2019.
In end of return
“We are very, very eager to find our Quebec and Canadian friends. The last two years have been particularly difficult, we hope that will unblock it. »
— Sarah Alexander, manager of Motel Beau Rivage, Old Orchard Beach
“We are expecting a big summer. […] We got bored of them [des Québécois]. A few came at the end of the season last year. All signals point to a good summer. »
— Dave Hanson, Manager at Seacastles Resort Inn & Suites in Ogunquit
“Before, many complained about the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar to the American dollar. Now we don’t hear about it anymore. Looks like they have a need to finally get back to the beach, regardless of inflation and gas prices. »
— Frederick Kennedy, owner of the Alouette Beach Resort in Old Orchard Beach
“Once the borders were opened and things stabilized with Covid, the phone started ringing. »
— David Latulippe, owner of Sea Chambers Motel, Ogunquit