Île d'Orléans welcomes flocks of Quebec tourists as COVID-19 keeps international travellers home
Without visitors from other countries or provinces, island has more room for Quebecers
Despite COVID-19 preventing tourists coming from abroad, business owners on l'Île d'Orléans say their shops are bustling.
"I think we'll have a very good season, and we're very happy about that," said Marie-Maude Chevrier, a tourism advisor for the MRC L'Île-d'Orléans, east of Quebec City.
According to Chevrier, there may be less traffic in museums and art galleries, but the take-out restaurants, farms, chocolatiers and agri-tourism businesses are booming.
She says that boom is thanks to Quebecers visiting from elsewhere in the province.
Chevrier credits the strong visitor numbers to a marketing campaign encouraging regional tourism, and said many people stopping at the tourism information centre have said it was their first trip to the island.
Winery owner Jacques Blouin created an online shop to sell his wine at the start of the pandemic, but said since he's been able to reopen the winery to visitors, the place is always full.
"At this point in the season we're barely seeing a difference compared to last year when it comes to visitor traffic," he said.
Blouin said he's noticed it's been largely Montrealers and people from the Laurentians visiting.
"Considering travel outside the province is limited, we anticipated people would be trying to rediscover the regions of Quebec," he said.