Rimouski, April 8th 2023. Following Seatrade Cruise Global, a dedicated international cruise industry event staged late March in Fort Lauderdale, we proudly confirm a solid uptick in cruise sector operations at home in Québec and in regions worldwide. The nine Saint Lawrence ports of call – Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Saguenay, Baie-Comeau, Sept-Îles, Havre Saint-Pierre, Gaspé and Îles de la Madeleine – enjoyed an onsite presence at this year’s event which drew some 20 000 industry representatives. Together in a new booth with our Canada New England Alliance partners, Destination Saint Lawrence delegates met with some hundred decision makers from cruise lines active in regions across the globe. The event attracted over 500 exhibitors and included conferences on current industry challenges.
The upcoming international cruise season on the Saint Lawrence appears especially promising and provides proof positive that post-pandemic recovery in the sector is well under way. Heartened by the speed of the industry’s comeback, René Trépanier, executive director of Cruise the Saint Lawrence (CSL), proffered as follows: “Last year, we set our sights on a return to 2019 levels of performance by 2025. We are now confident that we will achieve this goal earlier than initially anticipated.’’
Indeed, more than 300 stopovers are planned for the nine Saint Lawrence ports of call in 2023. The season will also be the longest in CSL history, extending from April 23rd when the Viking Octantis calls in at the Magdalen Islands to November 5th when the Silver Shadow departs from the Port of Québec. In total, 43 different ships will visit our shores, including a dozen or so set to navigate the waters of the Saint Lawrence for the first time.
Readers will recall that last year marked the relaunch of cruise operations after a two-year hiatus owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health restrictions then in effect required that onboard capacity be reduced to prevent any new outbreaks of the virus. Albeit all proceeded according to plan, passenger numbers for last year’s 248 stopovers at our nine ports of call plateaued at just 266 601, a figure which pales in comparison to the over 460 000 passengers expected in 2023.
Over the years, Destination Canada New England, which includes the ports of the Saint Lawrence, has secured a position of choice in the rapidly growing international cruise industry. Given the breadth of destination offerings, Cruise the Saint Lawrence is well poised to cater to the needs of a diversity of traveller profiles. Going forward, our association will continue to provide for sustained, soundly managed growth.
Cruise the Saint Lawrence is a sectoral organization which groups together the nine ports of call located along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River. The mission of the organization is to grow cruise market activities in Québec and across Destination Canada New England through the provision of marketing and development services to members. Cruise the Saint Lawrence enjoys the support of partners Tourism Québec, the Québec Tourism Industry Alliance and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
Source: Cruise the Saint Lawrence
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