December 16, 2009
Interview with the Chairperson of SLCA
As the end of a year brimming with developments and accomplishments for Saint Lawrence Cruise Association (SLCA) draws to a close, we would like to propose an interview with Priscilla Nemey, Chairperson of the Board of Directors with SLCA, and Director, Tourism Development and Communications with Promotion Saguenay.
Ms Nemey, tell readers about your role as Chairperson of SLCA.
Following in the footsteps of Ms Bélanger, an individual who did much to impact growth and development at Saint Lawrence Cruise Association has proven no mean task. SLCA achievements are numerous despite its young age, and the challenges are plentiful. In my capacity as Chairperson, I have the distinct pleasure of presiding over a sound, experienced Board of Directors and working alongside directors who are as committed as they are willing to share their wealth of knowledge.
Could you provide readers with an overview of the projects you are working on and those especially dear to your heart?
We are working on a number of projects, including as follows:
- Enhancing the positioning of the Saint Lawrence as a destination in international cruiseshipping circles;
- Promoting the wonders of summer in Québec with international cruise market representatives and seeking to extend the navigation season of large cruise ships;
- Cooperating in developing our ports of call and sustaining our association over time.
What is your take on the future of the international cruise market in Québec?
Québec is ripe with the potential to become as enticing a cruise destination as Alaska. We are promoting a discovery destination to be appreciated for its magic in spring, bustle of activity in summer and colourful garb in fall.
Backed by the concerted efforts of each of our ports of call, and major investments on behalf of the governments of Canada, Québec and the municipalities concerned, we are building a network of ports of call that will transform the Saint Lawrence into a must see destination on cold water cruise itineraries.
Shifting the focus to you, what do your responsibilities entail?
My tourism development and communications responsibilities relate in equal measure to cruises, business travel, conventions, as well as summer and winter leisure travel. In addition, I manage the development and marketing activities of four travel information offices at Saguenay. I have the pleasure of being supported by a team of about twenty permanent employees and a further twenty seasonal employees.
How long have you been employed in a cruise-related position? And could you tell readers a little about your career path to date?
I have been involved in the cruise industry since taking on my responsibilities with Promotion Saguenay in 2006. After initially practising as an actuary upon graduation from university, I was subsequently drawn with a passion to the challenges of the travel industry. Following several years in a management capacity at Cap Jaseux Adventure Park, a venue specializing in outdoor adventure tourism, and having completed my MBA, I joined the team at Promotion Saguenay with a view to spurring the cruise industry to discover one of the most beautiful fjords in the world! I truly enjoy contributing to the development of this scenic corner of the country.
What fascinates you about your chosen sector of endeavour?
I enjoy the possibility of impacting development in the region I call home and enabling visitors from the four corners of the earth to discover the City of Saguenay and the majestic fjord of the same name.
What do you like most about your job?
When a cruise passenger comes up to me and says that he or she was greeted as nowhere else in the world. Nothing makes me happier!
What does Saguenay have to offer cruise aficionados?
- The legendary hospitality and welcoming ways of the people.
- The majestic Saguenay fjord and celebrated statue of Notre Dame du Saguenay.
- Tourism, cultural and event diversity; history and vitality of the city and "Kingdom of the Saguenay", Saguenay has been named Cultural Capital of Canada in 2010.
Several new facilities have been built at the Port of Saguenay. Are there other cruise-related projects on the drawing board?
A project of the order of $15 million is currently under way to foster the development of tourism-oriented businesses, shops and portside village next to the quay at Bagotville. The development of other new tourism products is also planned for the medium term.
Where does cruise passenger volume stand at Saguenay? Are you satisfied with progress to date?
In 2009, Saguenay welcomed 26 110 cruise passengers and 11 589 crew members, representing an increase of the order of 246% over the comparable volume of passengers for 2008. After just four years in operation, we are exceedingly proud of progress made by our port of call with international cruise industry stakeholders.
What is your favourite activity for cruise passengers calling in at Saguenay?
The Fabuleuse Histoire d’un Royaume – a portrait of the region detailing the history of the "Kingdom of Saguenay" from 1603 to the present day – is a large-scale event featuring over a hundred actors and comes replete with farm animals, audiovisual effects, and so on. After playing to over a million French-speaking spectators, organizers have put together a special English-language spectacle designed especially for cruise passenger audiences.
What is your favourite local port of call restaurant?
OPIA, a charming restaurant only a stone’s throw from the quay at Bagotville. Service is impeccable and the atmosphere akin to that of a French bistro. The restaurant also features an impressive wine list and a mouth-watering menu... All with an obstructed vista of the ships docked in port at Saguenay. The black pudding with apples is simply sensational… Yummm!
Have you yourself ever been on a cruise? What did you enjoy most?
Yes, I had the pleasure of discovering Alaska aboard the Serenade of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines) and the Mediterranean aboard the MSC Musica (MSC Cruises). I was particularly taken with the glaciers of Alaska and the ambience of Palma de Mallorca in the Mediterranean. Paradise on earth!
In conclusion, what do you wish cruise shippers as year end approaches?
Health, happiness and a perfect year for discovering the untold treasures of the Saint Lawrence and the Saguenay Fjord!
Happy Holidays and every best wish for 2010!