February 25, 2011
Winds of change blowing over Îles de la Madeleine!
The landscape of this island group is dotted with brightly coloured houses, beaches which appear to stretch as far as the eye can see and red-coloured cliffs which inspire visitors with a mix of enthusiasm, fascination and thirst to discover what these unique surroundings have to offer.
In 2011, authorities are expecting a record number of cruise ships to call in at port and 2012 is looking even more promising with eight confirmations received to date. Great news for the islands and a great outlook for the future! These results are the fruit of unstinted efforts over time with cruise line operators and represent the culmination of lengthy deliberations by island residents.
Ships have long been calling into port at Îles de la Madeleine. However, a new turning point has been reached with the adoption of the Strategy for the Sustainable Development and Promotion of International Cruiseshipping on the Saint Lawrence River. As a port of call, Îles de la Madeleine has opted in favour of a facilities enhancement plan which will make it possible for the island chain to welcome greater numbers of visitors while complying with the provisions of the sustainable development policy in force. The islands offer a spectacular mix of stunning countryscapes and breathtaking beauty set against the backdrop of a fragile ecosystem.
Port of call authorities are seeking to appeal to individuals with a decided appreciation for nature and the great outdoors, the object being to minimize the overall impact of increased numbers of cruiseshippers. Hence the island focus is on medium-sized cruise liners.
To meet the needs of cruiseshippers and cruise operators, the port and central village areas are being completely redeveloped, with work scheduled for completion in late 2013. In 2011, the initial phase of work will see construction of a new cruise ship pier, reconstruction of the tanker pier, development of a loading area for tourist buses, as well as a series of initiatives destined to enhance people and vehicle flow in the port and village areas.
In 2012, a new terminal will be built with a view to enhancing visitor welcome facilities. Then in 2013, all new facilities will be linked together and passenger services enhanced with the addition of shops and businesses adjacent to pier installations.
To complement investment in the port and central village areas, a number of tourist attractions have committed to a facelift. Planned activities include as follows:
- Pied-de-Vent Economuseum: Expansion of the facility to demonstrate how the various raw milk cheeses are made and provision of space for onsite taste-testing.
- Museum of the Sea: Expansion and redevelopment of this venue dedicated to the conservation and enhancement of island heritage and history.
- Grande-Entrée: Development of the area in the vicinity of the point to showcase the history of the islands’ fishing industry.
It goes without saying that these investments will boost the tourism supply to the ultimate delight of all visitors stopping in at Îles de la Madeleine. The advent of greater numbers of cruise ships will also make it possible to extend the tourist season while spurring employment in the region.
Want to learn more about the archipelago right now? Take a moment to view a series of island images which you may wish to share with friends and family in the form of virtual postcards! They are certain to be as keen as you to plan a trip to the islands!