Quebec attractive, but not so much for its language

Quebec manages to climb to the top of the ranking of regional power of attraction established by the firm Sanctuary Counsel, despite poor perceptions of its “culture” and its “cuisine”.

Governance, education, influence, entrepreneurship…: Quebec is always among the front runners, which allows it to outstrip Ontario (2e rank), Bavaria (3e rank) and the Victoria (4e rank) in the general ranking of the London consulting firm, which examined 12 federated states from every angle – including 75 “objective” criteria such as the student-teacher ratio, the number of large-scale museums or even air routes accessible from the biggest airport.

Quebec ranks second in the “governance” rankings, behind Bavaria, “education”, following Ontario, and “international influence”, in the shadow of Catalonia.

With 39 representations in 19 countries around the world, Québec enjoys a “solid” international reputation. That said, it “is not perceived as making enough efforts in terms of the environment and the fight against climate change”, can we read in the report commissioned by the Ministry of International Relations and La Francophonie (MRIF ) at a cost of nearly $100,000, and of which The duty got a copy. “If the policies, regulations and actions of Quebec do not match the rhetoric, it will have a negative effect on the soft-power of Quebec,” notes its author, Jonathan McClory, while noting that Quebec has “great assets” in terms of soft-poweror power to convince.

In addition, Quebec lags behind Scotland, Massachusetts, Georgia and Wales on the digital front, continues the expert in terms of the power of persuasion, public diplomacy and brand image who has no wasn’t impressed with high-speed Internet access, wired or wireless in Canada’s second most populous province. Were it not for the online popularity of Premier François Legault — who “has put in place a solid digital communications strategy with good levels of outreach and far-reaching messages” according to Sanctuary Counsel — Quebec would not have did not last long at 5e rank out of 12 of the “digital” sub-classification.

The objective indicators are green, but not the subjective indicators.

Perception problem?

The survey report carried out among some 6,000 people residing in one of the twelve states of “commercial importance for Quebec” – Germany, Australia, Belgium, China, Colombia, the United States, France , India, Japan, Mexico, Norway and the United Kingdom — debunks myths, including that claiming that Quebec culture and the French language attract crowds.

To the question “how do you rate the cultural offer and cultural products of each of the following 12 regions […] from 1 to 10”, the respondents, on average, gave 6.67 points to Quebec, pushing it to 8e rank out of 12.

“For non-French-speaking audiences, language is a barrier and not an open door to another culture”, specifies the author of the2021 regional soft power index. Assessment of Quebec’s power of attraction in a global context. In his view, “it is important that French remain at the heart of the story and the brand of Quebec, but it is also important, in the context of Quebec’s power of attraction, to ensure that the international non-French-speaking public understands the added value of this particularity and does not consider it as a barrier preventing him from visiting Quebec”.

Distrust of the French language harms “Quebec’s reputation for friendliness towards tourists from non-French-speaking markets”, observes Jonathan McClory, pointing out the 4e place reserved by the international public in Quebec for its “tourist welcome” even before the echoes of the Act respecting the official and common language of Quebec, French (Bill 96) reached them.

Quebec is “pulled down by average or below-average scores” not only for its “culture” and its “tourism welcome”, but also for its “cuisine” (6e rank) and his “political values” (4e rank).

However, Quebec “has no shortage of world-class restaurants, especially in its largest city, Montreal,” says Jonathan McClory, after noting that Quebec chefs have still not managed to tickle the taste buds of the Michelin guide. “There is definitely an opportunity here to improve perceptions. Cuisine could play a greater role in promoting Quebec internationally and, as far as possible, the MRIF should engage with food journalists and tasters abroad to ensure better knowledge of the latest offers and trends in Quebec cuisine,” argues the author.

Quebec obtains, all categories combined, its best scores from the Colombians, Indians and Mexicans, and its worst scores from the Japanese, Australians, English and French. “France places Hokkaido, Victoria and even Ontario above Quebec”, takes care to mention the British consulting firm.

The deputy minister of the MRIF, Sylvie Barcelo, welcomed the results of the sounding not without “surprise”. “We must highlight in our own communications in the field, not only in Quebec, the presence of Quebec artists, and forge links with musicography from here” so that “Mr. and Mrs. Everyone” in South Korea or in Germany for example are made aware of the presence and not only the members of the industry who are there, she believes. To achieve this, Quebec will be more seen and heard around the world, particularly with the help of social media, promises the senior official.

The foreign policy tools in the hands of federated states like Quebec are most often limited to those associated with the power of attraction or soft-power », a concept developed by the American professor Joseph Nye. “The most skilful provincial, state and prefectural governments in the use of soft-power will be best placed to attract investment, tourists, students and talent, as well as to provide leadership on issues of global importance such as environmental sustainability and transnational rules and regulations,” argues Sanctuary Counsel .

Classification of regions according to their power of attraction

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Quebec attractive, but not so much for its language

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