The COVID-19 pandemic has created a disruption in the tourism sector worldwide. To mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic and adapt to this challenging context, Tourisme Baie-James, the destination management organization (DMO) for the James Bay region in the Province of Québec-Canada, has undertaken to review their strategies and practices. To assist them in that effort, Tourisme Baie-James signed a partnership agreement with CED in December 2021.
The purpose of the agreement is to train both the DMO’s staff and the tourist actors in their region on how to use the SMED methodology. Thanks to this new acquired knowledge, the James Bay tourism community will be able to formulate concrete and feasible recommendations for strategic interventions and continuous improvement in four key domains: destination sustainability, governance, activities, and services.
The “Destination Sustainability” domain addresses issues related to environment and landscape as well as culture and heritage, with emphasis on both natural and cultural assets. The “Governance” domain concerns aspects related to the operations of the destination. These aspects include the structure of the DMO, marketing strategies, and sales information for promotion, internal knowledge within the destination, hosting services, and support to tourists and security within the destination. The “Activities” domain is divided into as many categories as there are main activities in the destination, allowing to define its positioning about targeted markets. Finally, the “Services” domain covers the minimum and basic features that every destination should be able to provide to visitors. Subcategories here include transportation, accommodation, food and beverage, distribution networks, and the various services available to both locals and visitors (e.g. hospitals, pharmacies, and stores).
According to Isabelle Milord, Tourisme Baie-James’s director, the partnership with the CED is key for assisting the James Bay destination in the reconfiguration of its dynamic capabilities, and for tourism recovery.