Be Local – The Trend to Watch in 2020

Be Local – The Trend to Watch in 2020

22 January 2020

As we enter 2020, a question arises: how will business tourism evolve over the coming years? Although new technologies are becoming increasingly important in our lives, for the way we work and interact, the desire to be connected to one’s environment and to live authentic experiences has never been stronger…

Travellers wanting to combine business and leisure when planning a trip is not new. Bleisure is an already well-known trend, but in 2020 it is becoming more apparent. Yes, business travellers travel for meetings or conventions, but they want to take the time to discover the destination visited and live an authentic and unique experience once there. This is what is known as be local.

In Search of Authenticity

“Tourists are increasingly refusing to be tourists,” noted Pierre Bellerose, Head of Innovation and Product Development at Tourisme Montréal, during the 2019 conference 10 Trends that will Impact Tourism by 2020[1]. Travellers in search of authenticity venture more into residential areas, interact with locals, dress like them or learn about their gastronomy. “The traveller wants to be immersed in the local culture and experience everyday life (…) it’s a trend that’s mainly seen with Western travellers.”

This is precisely the kind of experience that the Laurentian region focuses on and encourages. “Our accommodations have been built in small communities, where it is easy to mingle with locals and feel, or even live, the local realities and meet local artisans. Consider Saint-Eustache for its historical side, in the heart of its agritourism sector. Direct contact with local producers is natural,” explained Sarah Cloutier Labelle, Business Tourism Development Coordinator for Tourisme Laurentides.

Sarah Cloutier Label, Tourisme Laurentides


Evolution of the Be Local Trend 

This trend of wanting to live a unique local experience was also noticed by Annie Léveillé, Business Events Delegate for Tourisme Outaouais, who is currently planning a major event for the destination, the Sport for Life Summit, to be held at the Hilton Lake Leamy in January 2020.

Annie Léveillée, Tourisme Outaouais 

“Four years ago, when I started my current position, customers wanted to enhance their event with a performance by a local artist.  Their request was more at the level of the artists and the entertainment, which had to be “from here.” Then we saw guests who wanted to get away from the so-called traditional convention or meeting setting and do a BBQ on a farm, organize an event outside the hotel that would allow them to discover the local side of the destination. Now it’s much more at the micro-level that people want to experience the destination: use local products in their menus, create and live unique experiences… that’s often what we hear. “I want it to be out of the ordinary. I want to get out of the hotel. I want to live something I can’t live anywhere else.”

Parc de la Gatineau – CNN

On the Magdalen Islands, the be local trend has been increasingly prevalent in recent years. “The Islands are a relatively small player in the business tourism industry,” explained Ariane Bérubé, Director of Sales, Marketing and Communications for Château Madelinot and Auberge Madeli, both members of Hôtels Accents, a family business established on the Magdalen Islands in the 1980s. While the goal has always been to introduce tourists to the beautiful region, the rise in popularity of business tourism has now positioned the destination in an industry where the establishment would not have thought it would be just four years ago.

Ariane Bérubé, Château Madelinot

“Now, convention planners are looking first and foremost to provide a unique experience for their participants, which is why be local is our main sales axis,” said Bérubé.

The warm welcome of the islanders is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Magdalen Islands as a tourist destination and sets the tone for the guests’ stay. They will participate in several organized activities, guided tours and themed dinners to have an experience reflecting the local culture.

This key element, at the heart of the be local trend, is also very important for the Laurentian region. “We offer a very personalised welcome for our visitors,” added Sarah Cloutier of Tourisme Laurentides. Visiting corporate customers are encouraged to meet authentic and warm residents and key players in the region. Customers are increasingly sensitive to this approach and are focusing on the characters and personalities that characterise our destination.”

Tourisme Laurentides

With the rise in popularity of be local, business tourism in Quebec has never been “trendier,” given that 2020’s upcoming meetings and events will be more authentic and local than ever.

This text is part of proposed series prepared by QACP, the sectorial tourism association that participates in the growth of business tourism in Quebec by promoting alliances between actors in the field, developing strategic knowledge and creating business opportunities for the industry.

The Right Words to Say It

If you would like to learn more about business tourism, consult the Vocabulary developed by the Quebec Association of Convention Professionals (QACP), which standardises the terms used, communicates them to is a network of qualified organisations and professionals, and contributes to standardising the basic terminology in this business sector. The vocabulary is available at and helps differentiate business from leisure tourism. 


Ginette Bardou
General Manager
Telephone: 1-888-969-1307
[email protected]


1 source (In French only) :





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