May 3, 2010
Québec: Multifaceted and multilingual!
The magnitude of Québec’s diversity is one of the characteristics most highly prized by tourists. In addition to broadly varying countryscapes from one port of call to the next, visitors delight in the province’s singular blend of North American and European influence. This particular trait of the Québec landscape indeed charms tourists time and again!
Boasting a rich history steeped in a mélange of French and English colonial influence, Québec has forged a unique personality for itself. As Canada’s majority French-speaking province, Québec features a culture and authenticity all its own. The province welcomes over 28 million tourists a year and provides greeting services in both French and English across the entire region. As primary school pupils indeed begin learning English at 6 years of age, Québecers in every region enjoy a basic knowledge of English as a second language. Specialized tourism institutions and universities also offer Spanish as a third language. Students are encouraged to learn other languages with a view to welcoming ever increasing numbers of international tourists.
In larger centres such as Montréal and Québec, multilingual tour guides provide services in French, English, German, Italian, Chinese, Spanish and other major world languages.
With the development of the Saint Lawrence ports of call and solid growth in the volume of international cruiseshippers, a number of measures have been initiated with a view to ensuring that tourism sector stakeholders are able to greet visitors in their usual language of communication.
Initiatives at our various ports of call include as follows:
Saguenay is home to a hugely popular historical pageant known as La Fabuleuse Histoire d’un Royaume (Amazing History of a Kingdom) which retraces the history of what is affectionately known as the ‘Kingdom of Saguenay’. Adapted from the original French and presented in English for the first time in 2009, the production is scheduled to be adapted into Italian in 2011 for tourists travelling with Costa Cruises. On days when international cruise ships call in at port, the region enjoys the backup of resources at several multinational corporations as well as military personnel stationed at the Canadian Forces Base at Bagotville to lend a hand.
Baie-Comeau College is actively involved in promoting the learning of languages with a view to enhancing greeting services at Baie-Comeau.
The Gaspé region is home to a number of mainly English speaking villages. Community members are regularly solicited to help train individuals working in the tourism sector.
All ports of call are poised to provide services in both French and English, and some in a number of other languages.
To facilitate the greeting of cruiseshippers, Cruise the Saint Lawrence has retained the services of a specialized human resource management and customer focus firm to assist our ports of call in rising to the challenge of ongoing growth and providing quality services.
This initiative aims as follows:
- To harmonize standards of quality in each port of call and ensure that ships are properly greeted;
- To produce a human resource reference guide (outlining basic elements such as numbers of individuals and levels of competency);
- To produce a self-diagnosis form to be employed by each port of call, the aim being to allow local coordinators to assess the situation at the local level, advise stakeholders concerned, and make enlightened choices based on shortlisted priorities.
Cruise the Saint Lawrence also enjoys recourse to the expertise of the Québec Tourism Human Resource Council (CQRHT) to suggest training appropriate to the various regions of the province. CQRHT represents a forum of partners committed to human resource development as a condition essential to commercial profitability.
Well aware of the importance of quality greeting services, Saint Lawrence Cruise Association is working actively to develop and market the tourism supply.