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May 18, 2009

Arrival of the MS Maasdam in Gaspé

Government of Canada invests $920,863 in three projects connected with the international cruise industry in Gaspésie

Gaspé, Quebec, May 18, 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 Gaspé to announce the awarding of non-repayable contributions totalling $920,863 to serve mainly for infrastructure development to accommodate large-capacity cruise ships in the region. These projects will generate overall investments of $3,099,182 on the peninsula.

This funding will include two separate contributions from Canada Economic Development to Escale Gaspésie. The first, in the amount of $314,863, will be used to help the organization structure and develop the region's international cruise ship port of call, including the logistics surrounding the reception of cruise passengers stopping along the Gaspé-Percé-Chandler corridor. The organization will then receive a second contribution of $483,000 for the acquisition, in the short term, of street furniture to outfit passenger staging areas and ensure their safe circulation in Gaspé and Percé. This equipment will be temporarily added to the existing facilities until such time as permanent infrastructure can be installed.

Lastly, the Centre culturel Le Griffon will receive $123,000 in funding for improvements to its accommodation capacity and for the acquisition of equipment. Major renovations are needed to ensure the centre's ability to attract cruise passengers and business clients and receive them in a truly unique and authentic maritime setting.

"The tip of the Gaspé Peninsula has always been a huge tourist draw by virtue of its exceptional landscapes that combine sea and mountains in a breathtaking canvas. The arrival of the MS Maasdam is a fine tribute to a region that has succeeded in rallying its forces around this initiative and an eloquent testimonial to the hard work and determination of the region's socioeconomic stakeholders and local tourism players. The strategic partnerships behind this project will facilitate coordination of cruise passenger reception and all of the operations surrounding their stay in the region to ensure them a truly memorable experience. 

We are proud to support these local efforts to stand out and develop new tourism products, particularly in light of the dozens of ships and more than 12,000 passengers and crew expected to dock here in 2009," explained the Minister of State. The international cruise industry is currently experiencing strong growth. 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. It is estimated that tourism spending from the industry could triple in Quebec by the year 2014, resulting in the injection of some $1.4 billion into the 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 Quebece's maritime communities," Minister of State Lebel concluded.

See attached backgrounder.

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Karina Gagnon
Canada Economic Development
Tel.: 418-368-6048 or 1-866-368-0044
Éric Lefebvre
Senior Special Assistant, Communications
Office of the Honourable Denis Lebel
Canada Economic Development
Cell.: 613-608-7906

backgrounder Government of Canada _ Gaspésie [377 Kb]

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