Why aren’t American tourists coming to Quebec?

That question was kicked around by 300 tourism industry stakeholders at a meeting in Laval Tuesday, as some expressed concerns that things could get worse before they get better with the upcoming possibility of government cuts to the sector as part of a Liberal austerity program.

A decade ago Quebec received 900,000 more annual visits from Americans than it does now and with the economic recovery gaining traction south of the border, many feel that the time to recapture that business is now.

And while fewer Americans visit the province, Quebecers are going abroad more than ever, resulting in a $3.13 billion tourism deficit for 2012, according to Yan Hamel president of the Quebec Tourism Industry Association.

He called out for new methods of selling the province as a destination for foreign travellers, as a way to end what some were calling “the lost decade.”

Gilbert Rozon, President and Founder of the Just for Laughs comedy festival, attended the discussions and expressed disappointment that Quebec tourism was so weak while it was booming elsewhere.

-With a file from The Canadian Press