Tourism: A key sector in planning Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspé regions’ economic recovery

From: Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

Rimouski, Quebec, January 18, 2021 – Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED)

Around the world, tourism was one of the first industries affected by the pandemic; it will also be one of the last to be able to return to full working order. A pillar of the Canadian economy that generates $102 billion a year and represents 4% of all jobs (or the equivalent of 1.8 million workers), tourism is a major vector to diversify and develop the economy.

Entrepreneurs in this sector-composed mostly of SMEs-have demonstrated resiliency, creativity and adaptability since the crisis began. To support them, the Government of Canada, through Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), is signalling its presence with investments totalling $2,205,053 to boost tourism in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspé regions.

Investing in tourism attractions in Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspé regions

Once conditions are favourable, the country’s economic recovery can only happen with the support of the tourism sector. To be ready to welcome tourists, we must continue to invest in regional attractions and establishments. With this in mind, Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec), the Honourable Mélanie Joly, today announced Government of Canada financial support for Amis des Jardins de Métis and the Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père. Details on the assistance provided by CED under the Quebec Economic Development Program are as follows:

  • Les Amis des Jardins de Métis, $1,899,375. The project aims to develop an interactive innovation zone, accessible throughout the year, representing an immersive experience for visitors. CED’s contribution will focus on fees associated with construction, improvement and fitting-out work on the workshops and infrastructure, the acquisition of specialized equipment and the adapting of promotional tools.
  • Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père, $305,678. The project aims to establish a new product that integrates digital technology. It includes the development of an outdoor interpretation trail and the design and launch of a new augmented reality experience. CED’s support is focusing on the acquisition and installation of sidewalks and interpretation panels, as well as development of the augmented reality concept.

Helping tourism organizations make it through the crisis

Since the start of the crisis, the Government of Canada has been supporting organizations in the tourism industry, including through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), deployed in Quebec by CED and its collaborators. As a reminder, the RRRF has made it possible to provide funding and technical support to businesses and organizations to help them maintain their activities. In this way, with the help of Sociétés d’aide au développement des collectivités (SADCs), Centres d’aide aux entreprises (CAEs) and PME MTL, 1167 organizations in Quebec’s tourism sector have received contributions through the RRRF totalling over $44 million. Thanks to this measure, some 9400 jobs have been maintained.

The tourism industry, which plays a crucial role in the economic, social and cultural life of communities, represents an essential link in regional economic development. Through this support, the Government of Canada is attesting to its commitment to prepare the field for after the pandemic with a view to rebuilding a stronger, more resilient and more just economy for all.


“I am delighted that the Government of Canada is supporting businesses and organizations in the tourism industry in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspé regions in these crucial times. We must seize this opportunity to rethink the sector’s products, services and processes. Quebecers will have the chance to test these new ideas and, who knows, to become ambassadors of our region when the time comes to reopen national and international tourism!”

Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec)

“The tourism industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and the Government of Canada is committed to accompanying key players as they prepare to rebound vigorously after the economic crisis. We have been here since the start of this unprecedented situation, with concrete measures, and we will be here to support tourism as the health situation evolves. We must plan the economic recovery, which can only happen with the contribution of players in the tourism community, so that we can get off to a new start together and be stronger and more resilient.”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for CED

“This experiment will enable visitors to understand and experience different systems virtually, including ballasts, motors, periscopes, the snorkel, etc. Finally, it will showcase complex elements that are invisible during a visit indoors, providing a better understanding of how all of this worked. Using the space around the submarine will enable us to welcome many more visitors, with fewer limitations than in the space indoors. This new visitors’ experience is planned to start on July 1, 2021.”

Serge Guay, Chief Executive Officer, Site historique maritime de la Pointe-au-Père

“The tourism sector is a very important industry for the Bas-Saint-Laurent region. It represents over $345M in economic spinoffs every year in over 850 businesses that employ nearly 8000 employees. A strong tourism industry means a dynamic living environment, healthy businesses and quality of life for all Bas-Saint-Laurent citizens.”

Pierre Lévesque, Chief Executive Officer, Tourisme Bas-Saint-Laurent

“Despite a surprising summer, the Gaspé region’s tourism industry was greatly affected by the pandemic. Businesses in the region had to adjust, establish health measures and ensure they were followed to continue their operations. They will need all possible leverage to recover economically and return to pre-pandemic activity and revenue levels.”

David Dubreuil, President, Tourisme Gaspésie

Quick facts

  • CED is a key federal partner in Quebec’s regional economic development. With its 12 business offices, CED is present to accompany Quebec businesses, supporting organizations and regions into tomorrow’s economy.
  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, is the minister responsible for the six regional development agencies (RDAs), including CED.
  • Recognizing the importance of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) in supporting local tourism businesses, the Government of Canada proposed as part of the Fall Economic Statement (November 2020) an additional $500 million for RDAs.
  • Total funding for the RRRF sits at over $2 billion, and at least 25% of this amount will be granted to boost local tourism businesses, representing over $500 million in support to kickstart tourism by June 2021.

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