Cottage industry: demand for province's vacation rentals through the roof among Quebecers

As Quebecers look ahead to summer travel options limited by the global pandemic, they are once again looking to the great outdoors in their provincial backyard for safe vacation options.

Hotels and self-serve accommodation booking platforms say the demand, much like last year, is being driven by domestic vacationers and some are even planning further ahead than the high season of summer to find the best reservations.

“Just now […] I was seeing a booking coming in for Christmas, so some people are taking a chance to book their vacation a bit of time ahead,” said Dany Papineau of WeChalet, adding inventory is about half booked during traditional vacation windows like the construction holiday and Fete Nationale.

Hotels in the popular Gaspesie area are also noticing an increase in demand from Quebecers, but this isn’t entirely making up for the loss of international tourists and tour operator reservations, according to one hotel group.

“We've been seeing the last three weeks the pickup has been much better,” Francois Rioux of Groupe Riotel told CTV News. “[Daily reservations] doubled in the past two, three weeks.”

For those looking to get away from it all this summer, Papineau suggested booking early.

“If you wait too long until the end of the spring or until June, pretty much all the great inventory is going to be gone. It’s going to be really hard to find something,” he said.

Summer is, as they say, right around the corner.

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