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May 20, 2009

Arrival of the MS Maasdam in Sept-Îles

Government of Canada invests $10,030,210 in six projects to promote international cruise ship access to the Côte-Nord region

Sept-Îles, Quebec, May 19, 2009 - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for Canada Economic Development, took the opportunity while attending today's ceremony marking the arrival of the first international cruise ship in Sept-Îles to announce the awarding of six nonrepayable contributions totalling $10,030,210. These funds will be used for the development of tourism products and the construction of port facilities and reception services for cruise ship passengers stopping at the Havre-Saint-Pierre, Sept-Îles and Baie-Comeau ports.

"The majestic St. Lawrence River has all of the attributes to appeal to tourists. Indeed, taking a cruise along the Côte-Nord offers a unique opportunity to discover exceptional landscapes, where sea and mountain come together to paint a truly breathtaking canvas. The arrival of the MS Maasdam in Sept-Îles is a fitting tribute to a region that has succeeded in rallying its forces around this initiative and is an eloquent testimonial to the hard work and determination of the region's socioeconomic stakeholders, aboriginal communities and local tourism players. The strategic partnerships behind this project will ensure that all of the activities surrounding passenger visits are well coordinated from the moment they arrive, thereby guaranteeing them a truly memorable experience. We are proud to support these local efforts to offer something different and innovative," explained the Minister of State.

In 2006, 154,000 cruise ship passengers visited Quebec, generating about $77.5 million in tourism revenues for the province and contributing to the maintenance of some 1,000 jobs. Given the strong growth currently under way in the international cruise industry, it is estimated that tourism spending from the industry could triple by the year 2014, resulting in the injection of some $1.4 billion into the Quebec economy and the creation or maintenance of 3,100 jobs.

"In its latest budget, the Government of Canada has put the emphasis on promoting development of growth sectors like tourism and growth niches like the international cruise industry. To that end, the budget allocation for the Support Initiative for International Cruise Development along the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers, initially set at $46 million, will be increased by $12 million per year for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, to the great benefit of riverside communities," Minister of State Lebel added.

Various studies have found that three of the six ports of call showing the strongest potential for tourism growth and economic diversification in Quebec are in the Côte-Nord region. It is for this reason that the development of ports of call for international cruise ships has been identified as a key priority by the Canada Economic Development business office serving the region.

See attached backgrounder.

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Lyne Montpellier
Canada Economic Development
Tel.: 1-800-567-8637

Éric Lefebvre
Senior Special Assistant, Communications
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Canada Economic Development
Cell.: 613-608-7906

backgrounder Government of Canada [408 Kb]

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