QUEBEC INTERNET TOURIST SITES

Reprinted from the AATF National Bulletin, Vol. 26 No. 3 (January 2001)

The Guides touristiques published for each of the twenty tourist regions of la belle province by Tourisme Québec have long been an excellent resource for teaching the geography and culture of Quebec. The booklets of about 100 pages contain maps, an overview of the region (le portrait de la région), various circuits listing the principal attractions, museums, parks, restaurants, and lodging. Color photos depict important sites, and advertisements add more detail. Now this information has been transferred to the Web. Although some instructors will continue to prefer the booklets for their convenience, now that the brochures have become the basis for the regional Web sites, they are much more accessible.

Activities centered around tourism allow students to explore geography while mimicking the way native speakers use the Internet when planning a trip. Two sites are convenient portals for Quebec. The best is the provincial government's site [http://www.tourisme.gouv.qc.ca] where students will find the page that allows them to access Quebec's twenty tourist regions, or they can try going directly to it at [http://www. tourisme.gouv.qc.ca/francais/tourisme/regions/regionst.html]. Another site, more commercial in nature and with less infor-mation, might be easier for students at a lower level to handle: [http://www. quebecweb.com/tourisme/introfranc.html]. For more information about Montreal, see la Page Montréal: at [http://www.pagemontreal .qc.ca/] or at [http://ville.montreal.qc.ca/].

While this article focuses on Quebec, students could use the same strategies to explore the Acadian connection in the maritime provinces (see the tourism section of Acadie.Net: [http://www.acadie.net/]) or Francophone Manitoba at [http://www. travelmanitoba.com], where the search feature will turn up a long list of sites related to Saint-Boniface. The Quebec government's Office de la langue française pro-vides an on-line dictionary of Internet vocabulary students might find useful: [http://www.olf.gouv.qc.ca/] (Click on Ressources linguistiques and then Terminologie d'Internet).

The activities can be used singly or as a unit. They progress from simpler ones that emphasize recognition of data to simulations that are progressively more complicated. I have used the tourist agent simulation as a single independent activity both in courses on Quebec culture and in conversation courses. In a conversation course I used the package as a two-week unit. In that case, I first asked students to survey several regions on successive days. Students then progressed to the tourist agent activity which requires that they first plan an itinerary using at least two regions and next present it to clients; the Web consultant activity served as a capstone. During the course of the unit they reported to the class on their surveys of sites, pitched their itinerary to other students who played the role of clients, and produced a written consultant's report on improving the Web site.

I. Survey. Each Tourisme Québec site contains a feature, usually called Le portrait de la région, that gives an overview. Ask the students to mine it for as much of the following information as possible. While most information will be found on the Portrait d'une région page, students may have to check other parts of the site as well.

a. Quelle est la métropole (Québec, Montréal, Ottawa) la plus proche? à combien d'heures? à combien de kilomètres ?
b. Quelles sont les villes principales de la région?
c. Situez la région par rapport aux prin-cipales régions géographiques du Qué-bec: la plaine ou l'estuaire du Saint Laurent; les Laurentides, les Appalaches.
d. Y a-til des rivières ou des lacs dans la région?
e. Citez un événement historique ou un personnage célèbre sous le régime français (jusqu'en 1763).
f. Citez un événement ou personnage entre 1763 et la Confédération (1867).
g. Citez un événement ou personnage depuis la Confédération.
h. Citez deux attraits touristiques de la région: musées, parcs, édifices, etc.
i. Identifiez une activité pour trois des quatre saisons.
Conclusion: Vous êtes le directeur de tourisme de la région. Indiquez deux attraits touristiques de la région. Justifiez vos choix. Ou: Si vous avez visité plusieurs sites, dans quelle région voudriez-vous passer des vacances? Pourquoi?

II. Travel Agent Students play the role of travel agents who must put together a day-by-day itinerary within one or two regions for clients who have special interests recommending activities, restaurants, hotels, etc. They then use the itinerary to convince the clients to purchase the tour package.

Assign students different regions so that all of the province will be covered when they present their itinerary to the class. When the clients have contradictory tastes the planning becomes more challenging. For other ways of organizing this activity, see Jayne Abrate and Townsend Bowling's "Paris on the Web: Surfing along the Seine," The French Review 73 (2000), 1165-1178, which proposes a similar activity dealing with Paris (1169-1171). They also provide suggestions for using the Internet in the classroom.

Vous êtes agent de voyage. Préparez un itinéraire pour deux clients de goûts opposés.

  1. D'abord, décrivez vos clients (20 à 30 mots).
  2. Ensuite, préparez l'itinéraire sous forme d'agenda où vous proposez des activités pour le matin, l'après-midi, et le soir, aussi bien que des restaurants et des hôtels.
  3. Finalement, essayez de vendre à ces clients l'itinéraire que vous proposez. Donc, vous devez expliquer vos choix et les rendre attrayants. Dites ce qu'on peut faire à chaque endroit.

Contraintes:

bulletun voyage de deux jours: une activité pour le matin, l'après-midi, et le soir de chaque journée.
bulletun parcours qui traverse au moins une région touristique, mentionnez la géographie (le fleuve, les rivières, les montagnes, les parcs, etc.)
bulletun parcours qui satisfait les goûts des deux personnes (musées, villes, stations de ski, casinos, etc.)
bulletMentionnez au moins un site historique (pourquoi est-il intére-ssant?)
bulletSuggérez des hôtels et des restau-rants.
bulletProposez des options.
bulletAjoutez quelques éléments de fantaisie!

It can be wise to couple this activity with a review of grammar, for example, the use of the definite article and prepositions with geographical sites; the use of appropriate tenses and moods for pitching the itinerary (future, imperative, conditional of politeness); the difference between verbs of destination and verbs of motion (aller à Montréal en voiture; conduire une voiture sur l'autoroute).

III. Web Masters Students serve as Internet consultants who advise an attraction or region how they could improve their site. Students should first identify what they consider to be the attraction's most distinctive features. How could these features be made more appealing to potential tourists (perhaps American or French ones)?

1. Evaluation of the Web site. The first step of the consultant's job is to assess the site itself. This is a more com-plicated version of the survey in activity 1 in that it focuses more on how the site presents the region than on retrieving basic information about the region. I prefer to have students concentrate on the information the site provides about the region and only secondarily on how it functions as a Web site. Students determine the overall interpretation of the region that is projected by the written text and accompanying images.

a. La page d'accueil donne la première impression et oriente le visiteur. Citez au moins deux attraits principaux de la région selon la page d'accueil. (Par exemple, nature, vie culturelle, patri-moine, etc).
Que représentent les images sur la page d'accueil?
Comment est-ce que les images renforcent le texte écrit?
Quels choix est-ce que la page d'accueil offre au visiteur pour continuer sa visite du site?
b. Cliquez sur deux ou trois des choix proposés par la page d'accueil. Est-ce que ces sections mettent l'accent sur les mêmes points importants soulignés par la page d'accueil ou sur d'autres points? Citez-les.
c. Quels sont les points forts du site actuel? ses points faibles?

2. Consultant's Report. Suggest that students concentrate on the content of the site rather than its Internet features per se (ease of navigating, flashy visuals, etc.). If students have access to the printed brochures of Tourisme Québec, they might compare them to the Web sites.

The site is now designed for the general public. If students do further research on the region, using either print or Web sources, they can suggest improvements to the site based on this more extensive knowledge: other options for travel, other attractions. If their knowledge of the region is limited to the information provided by the site itself, their suggestions can focus on how to make the site itself more user friendly, more attractive. This may require that students have an extensive mastery of Internet and computer vocabulary, but the Office de la langue française site listed above can be helpful in this regard. It is often easier for students to suggest how the site can be refocused for a narrower interest group. For example: American tourists who are interested in what Quebec offers that they can't find in the U.S. (natural features that are unique to Quebec, Quebec's French culture, but who could be reassured that English can be used almost everywhere); French tourists who are interested in Quebec's natural beauty and how Quebec has adapted its French heritage to a North American context; or make it appeal to the age group of the students, skiers, or nature lovers, etc. This strategy allows students to recombine the information that the site already contains.

Vous êtes un consultant qui propose au webmestre (l'administrateur du site) comment il pourrait réorienter son site pour attirer un public plus spécialisé.
a. Pour quel public proposez-vous un site plus spécialisé? Décrivez l'âge, les intérêts, les moyens financiers, etc. de ce public.
b. Quels attraits de la région proposez-vous de mettre en valeur pour attirer ces touristes?
c. Qu'est-ce qu'il faut ajouter au site pour attirer ce public?
d. Décrivez la nouvelle page d'accueil (texte et images) que vous proposez. Un nouveau slogan? D'autres images?
e. Quels nouveaux liens proposez-vous pour aider et informer ce public? Comment est-ce que ces changements vont attirer ce nouveau public?

More Web-adept students might want to produce such a page rather than simply describe it.

Tom Carr
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

For more information contact AATF National Headquarters, Mailcode 4510, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901-4510; Tel: (618) 453-5731; Fax: (618) 453-5733; E-mail: abrate@siu.edu

Created: December 29, 2000

Last update: December 29, 2000

 

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