Did you know that...?
March 9, 2010
Introducing an individual with a passion for cruiseshipping...
Allow us to share with you a spirited interview with Raynald Tremblay, Director of Tourism with the City of Baie-Comeau and Vice-Chairperson of Saint Lawrence Cruise Association (SLCA).
- Mr Tremblay, could you enlighten readers about your role and involvement as Vice-Chairperson of SLCA?
My position involves providing support and substituting for our Chairperson as required. The Board of Directors, and more especially the Executive Committee, together oversee the interests of the association and its members.
- Could you provide us with an overview of the projects you are working on and those especially dear to your heart?
Our goal, of course, is to ensure that the Saint Lawrence ports of call prove a resounding success. We firmly believe that our destination has the potential to become a natural choice for cruise lines and are studying closely action to be taken to provide the necessary exposure for our product. In addition, we are working closely with our financial partners at Tourisme Québec and Economic Development Canada. Two projects which are particularly important to us are ground transportation services at destination and staff qualifications, especially for greeting personnel and tour guides.
- What is your take on the future of the international cruise market in Québec?
I remain absolutely convinced that in the medium to longer term, Québec will become a destination of choice for cruise operators. And this is true for the entirety of our Saint Lawrence ports of call, Baie-Comeau in particular. We offer a unique, quality product unlike any other in the world and boast a diversity of complementary ports of call.
- Shifting the focus to you, what do your responsibilities entail?
I have been with the City of Baie-Comeau for 16 years now, and am responsible for both tourism and human resources. My tourism responsibilities involve developing and marketing tourist supply in the leisure, sport, convention, business and cruise sectors.
- How long have you been employed in a position with ties to the cruise industry? Could you tell readers a little about your career path to date? I am an administrator by profession and my background in administration led me to occupy the position of Treasurer of the City of Baie-Comeau. Subsequent studies in communications and project management drew me to the tourism sector.
What do you like most about your job?
The world of tourism is effervescent, positive and dynamic, and infuses one with amazing energy. We work very hard to develop products with demonstrated people appeal and to provide exposure for our outstanding attractions. Needless to say, the work is highly motivational!
- What does Baie-Comeau have to offer cruise aficionados?
Our city is beautiful, young and dynamic. Despite our relatively remote location, we enjoy all the services of a larger centre. Our deep water harbour, accessible year round, is an important attribute and powerful drawing card for cruise ship operators. Our corner of the world is brimming with highly skilled human resources who are proud to offer greeting services second to none. Major attractions for which the city is renowned include the Garden of the Glaciers and the giant hydroelectric dams on the Manicouagan River. Other tourist-oriented activities include the Saint Lawrence National Shipwreck Museum, the lighthouse at Pointe des Monts, Franquelin logging village, Pointe aux Outardes Nature Park and, of course, marine mammal observation.
- Could you enlighten readers about cruise-related projects on the drawing board for Baie Comeau?
In the spring of this year, we are set to commence the construction of a cruise passenger welcome pavilion. Inauguration of the new building is scheduled for 2011. We are exceptionally proud to say that the facility will be used for tourism personnel training purposes in the winter to ensure that service quality remains ahead of the game.
- Where does cruise passenger volume stand at Baie-Comeau?
We welcomed two ships in 2009 and two others are scheduled to drop anchor in our harbour in 2010. For 2011, we are estimating a volume of some 10 000 cruise ship passengers but in the light of discussions currently under way, it is possible that we will actually surpass this figure.
- What is your favourite activity for cruise passengers calling in at Baie-Comeau?
Having worked for 14 years on the Garden of the Glaciers initiative, which opened in 2009, I have a natural weakness for this particular product which is the only one of its kind in the world. At Baie-Comeau, it is indeed possible to observe traces of retreating glaciers which date back to the last Ice Age… really impressive! That having been said, experiencing the warmth of the local people and enjoying a leisurely stroll along the dockside promenade remain daily favourites of mine!
- What is your favourite port of call restaurant?
Our star restaurant attraction is the renowned La Cache d’Amélie, recipient of a national Grand Prix tourism award. We are thus very spoiled! Restaurants in the region offer a good variety of fare which compares favourably to the offerings of fine dining establishments elsewhere in Québec.
- Have you ever been on a cruise? What did you enjoy most?
I am pleased to report that I have been on two cruises. My first, a cruise to Alaska, remains the most spectacular to date. To find oneself at the foot of a glacier and experience the tranquillity of a larger-than-life natural setting was simply extraordinary. I also had the privilege of sailing on the inaugural voyage of the Oasis of the Seas. This grand event just happened to coincide with my birthday, hence two good reasons to celebrate!
In conclusion, what do you wish for cruiseshippers in 2010?
For the entire cruise ship industry, a full complement of bookings from May through to October! By the way, I remain convinced that I will see that in my lifetime! For the 2010 season at Baie Comeau, I wish radiant sunshine to ensure that visitors to our midst are able to discover the beauty of the region in all its splendour. And one final word… I would like to underscore how motivating it is to witness the exceptional level of cooperation among the nine Saint Lawrence ports of call. It is fantastic to experience this wonderful energy clear across Québec. I am immensely proud to contribute to the development of a sector of activity which helps rally centres large and small around a common goal.