Three-Year Action Plan for Sustainable Destination Tourism

Vue sur la Haute-Ville et la Basse-Ville de Québec
Steven D'Avignon

The Québec City area has undeniable assets as a sustainable tourism destination. These assets define who we are and shape the path we must take to preserve this precious heritage for future generations. 

That’s why Destination Québec cité has created a sustainable tourism action plan: to further that legacy by developing tourism in the region in a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable, thereby integrating the three pillars of sustainable tourism. 

Our Vision

Make the Québec City area a model destination for sustainable tourism in North America—one that helps: 

  • Enhance the quality of life of local residents 
  • Bring in business for tourism companies 
  • Protect the environment 
  • Conserve our heritage 
  • Create a memorable experience for visitors 

Our Commitments

  1. Enhance the quality of life of local residents 

  2. Provide local businesses with guidance and support as they make the shift to responsible and sustainable tourism 

  3. Promote the Québec City area’s responsible and sustainable tourism offer and actions 

  4. Make Destination Québec cité responsible and sustainable, as both an organization and a place to work 

Destination Québec cité revised its three-year sustainable tourism action plan in winter 2023, clarifying the strategies and actions therein and adjusting the indicators to ensure the targets are fully achieved. 

See the full plan for 2022–2024, including the 16 ways we aim to make a difference. 

Destination Québec cité in Action

Progress on our action plan


Initiatives completed 

Our organization is working to make a difference in 16 different ways. Here are the initiatives currently underway and those that have been completed thus far: 

Support for companies making the shift to sustainable tourism 

Destination Québec cité helps local tourism businesses make the shift to sustainable tourism through Biosphere certification. There are 26 businesses in the first cohort. 

Biosphere certification 

Destination Québec cité is proud to announce that it is now Biosphere certified, making it the first tourism bureau in Québec to earn an eco-responsible certification for its operations. 

Mountain Plan and entrepreneurship awards 

As part of the Mountain Plan for the cocreation of sustainable, fourseason mountain tourism, Destination Québec cité launched a “mountains and nature” community and a series of events. It also created entrepreneurship awards as a way of inspiring local tourism businesses to diversify their operations with responsible, sustainable tourism offerings in all four seasons. 

Starter tools for making the shift 

Resources are also available to help organizations that aren’t ready to begin the certification process start making the shift to responsible and sustainable tourism. 

GHG emissions calculator and carbon offsetting 

Destination Québec cité and Carbone boréal offer travellers a simple tool that allows them to calculate and offset the carbon emissions from their trip to Québec City. The carbon credits purchased are used to plant trees in the boreal forest, which plays an important role in mitigating climate change. 

Youth destination: An advisory committee of students ages 15 to 18 

As travellers and responsible citizens of the future, the members of this committee serve as special advisors to the leadership teams of Destination Québec cité and the tourism businesses involved, with the goal of making the Québec City area a tourism destination that reflects their vision and their values.  

Financial support for tourism businesses 

There are financial assistance programs to help businesses make the shift to responsible, sustainable tourism. 

Internal sustainable development policy 

This policy aims to make Destination Québec cité a responsible organization and place to work, with the goal of minimizing its carbon footprint and maximizing its social and economic impact. 

Free public transit for visitors 

Destination Québec cité offers free public transit to visitors staying two nights or more with participating local accommodation providers. 

A section dedicated to local residents

We have a section dedicated to local residents on our site to encourage them to make the most of the region and everything it has to offer. We’ll be adding training, special content, and a variety of initiatives aimed at getting locals involved in the discussion and the actions to be taken in the coming years.

A section on responsible tourism

We’ve added a dedicated section on responsible tourism to our website to foster more sustainable stays. The section provides tips for travellers and features businesses and organizations that are doing good things for the environment, the community, or the local economy. 

Free bike helmets

To make it easier for visitors to use àVélo, a bikesharing service that requires users to wear a helmet, Destination Québec cité gave bike helmets to 50 accommodation providers located near the bike stations so that they can lend them to their guests. 

Sustainable tourism innovation hub 

The MT Lab and Destination Québec cité have founded an innovation hub based in Québec City that is dedicated to sustainable tourism. The aim of the hub is to accelerate impactful solutions to economic, social, and environmental issues in the world of tourism.   

A Solidly Aligned Plan

This initiative is aligned with: 

  • The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 

  • Ville de Québec’s sustainable development strategy  

  • The Québec ministry of tourism’s 2020–2025 action plan for responsible and sustainable tourism 

A Committed Destination

Signatory to the Glasgow Declaration

Glasgow Declaration Logo

Destination Québec cité is a signatory to the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism. 

Part of the Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Movement

Logo de Global Destination Sustainability

Destination Québec cité joined the GDS Movement in 2021. The GDSIndex aims to engage, inspire, and allow destinations to become more regenerative and sustainable places to visit, meet, and thrive in. Participating destinations have their environmental, social, supply, and management performance assessed every year. The assessment is used to rank global destinations based on their sustainability, identify best practices, and foster healthy competition. 

Member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)

The GSTC establishes and manages global sustainability standards to enhance knowledge and practices in sustainable tourism among public and private stakeholders. The GSTC is a neutral and independent body that fulfills many important functions, managing its global sustainability standards for travel and tourism, fostering greater knowledge and understanding of sustainable tourism practices, promoting the adoption of universal sustainable tourism principles, and strengthening the demand for sustainable travel. 

Un plan aligné avec les objectifs de développement durable de la Ville de Québec

Notre plan triennal en tourisme durable est aligné selon le plan de développement durable de la Ville de Québec. Découvrez les 5 défis à relever de la stratégie de développement durable de la Ville de Québec.

Destination Québec cité soutient la vision événementielle de la Ville de Québec. Pour assurer la cohérence entre tous les événements, la vision se veut la référence de la Ville, indépendamment de l’envergure de l’événement. Elle s’adresse à tous les promoteurs et organismes qui souhaitent tenir un événement sur le territoire de Québec.

Our Partners in This Transition

This first sustainable tourism action plan is designed for all the tourist areas in the Québec City region. It is being implemented in collaboration with our key partners in the Québec City region and the tourism industry, including Ville de Québec; Côte-de-Beaupré, Île d’Orléans, La Jacques Cartier, and Portneuf regional county municipalities (RCMs), the Huron Wendat Nation, the Port of Québec,  the Québec City International Airport (YQB), Université Laval,  the region’s sectoral tourism associations, Carbone boréal, and Tourisme durable Québec. 

Any questions? 

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