The “Laurentides”. The name sounds like an invitation to travel and dream in this beautiful region, just a few minutes away from Montreal. It’s precisely its peculiar and charming character that brought together 50 local stakeholders from various backgrounds last 19th of June. This invitation was sent by Tourisme Laurentides and Créneau ACCORD Tourisme de villégiature 4 saisons, with the aim of “Imagining tomorrow’s tourism in the Laurentides” (see here).
Naturally, creative tourism was one of the options that were considered, given the large concentration of creators and entrepreneurs in the tourism area. Participants who came from different sectors had the opportunity to co-create tourist experiences which give the region a differential tourism offer, especially during the low-season. This approach corresponds to the principles of sustainable development and helped professionals get inspiration from concrete examples of CreativeFriendlyDestinations (the label officially delivered by the CTN). During this summit, Caroline Couret, from the Creative Tourism Network®, gave a speech about the best practices of creative tourism, referring to the Îles de la Madeleine. Jason Bent, the islands’ developing agent, was also there and gave a pertinent presentation on the islands’ evolution.
Participants then had the opportunity to fine-tune their activities during a session held by the Living Lab en Innovation Ouverte (LLiO – Living Lab in Open Innovation). Most of the offers were highly relevant and perfectly reflected the Laurentides’ DNA, hence answering to the main concern of the new generation of travellers: meaningful experiences.
Most of these were directly linked to nature: cooking workshops with picking of seasonal herbs, ceramic, sculpture, jewelry and blown glass classes, photography routes, scrapbooking workshops…were among the best activities.
This summit emphasized both the natural and creative potential of the Laurentides, as well as the key role of Tourisme des Laurentides, Créneau ACCORD and interregional co-operation in the process of implementing creative tourism and creating synergies with local stakeholders. This process is beneficial not only for the tourism sector, but also for the territory as a whole.
Again, we want to extend our congratulations to all the participants, who proposed incredibly innovative and creative activities, and to the organizing committee, whom we thank warmly for their hearty welcome.
The format of the event fostered the exchanges and mutual knowledge of the activities proposed in the Laurentides, which gave us the opportunity to appreciate the creative and tourist potantial of the area. Caroline Couret shares her feedback:
- The aim of the event was to imagine new proposals that fit with the low-season tourism in the Laurentides. How did you see it?
I immediately perceived the potential of the region for this type of tourism, from a professional point of view, but also from my personal experience. Indeed, the Laurentians are world famous winter sports destination, but also owns a rich natural and cultural heritage, as well as a lifestyle that people like me who do not ski, can enjoy! And I precisely had a real “love at first sight” and good vibrations for this region! That’s why I consider that it is an ideal place for people eager to practice alternative activities along the year, be they in a cosy workshop or surrounded by inspiring landscapes!
- Precisely, what kind of activities could be proposed?
Creative workshops of any kind. You know, creativity is endless! Buy of course, if we are talking about meaningful experiences, they should refer to the local culture, in order to enable the visitors to discover and understand the traditions and to guarantee the authenticity. I had the chance to meet many artists, artisans, festival organizers and tourist entrepreneurs during my stay and I was impressed by the willingness and genious ideas they have, to design singular experiences, linked to the nature and lifestyle.
- What are the assets of the Laurentides to carry on this kind of projects?
They have, as I said, the cultural backgroung, rich of traditions and know-how that are still alive. Its proximity to Montreal makes it the perfect place to live authentic insider experiences, that fit to a wode array of tourist segments, like famillies, singles, seniors, MICE, team-building, foodies, sketchers, crafters, photography-lovers, etc. But another essential factor are the human ressources. I could appreciate the stakeholders’ open-mindness and willingness to work together and their expertize to co-create singular offers. Their friendlyness is of course also a differential attractive! Such assets are fostered and enhanced by the municipalities, and the synergies created by the Laurentides Tourism Organization, as well as networks like the Créneau ACCORD and its interregional co-operation channels.
- A final word?
Well, precisely this is not about to end! This event pointed out the stakeholders’s energy and voluntee to permanently imagine the futur by creating value from the past and present. Definitely the recipe for success!
Le Québec, terrain fertile du tourisme créatif, Economie et Innovation Québec (Ministère de l’Economie et Innovation)