Tourism: A key sector in planning Montérégie region’s economic recovery

From: Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, January 19, 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 $1,370,588 to boost tourism in the Montérégie region.

Investing in tourism attractions in Montérégie

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, Brenda Shanahan, Member of Parliament for Châteauguay-Lacolle, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, today announced Government of Canada financial support of $403,250 for the Corporation du Festival de montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. The assistance provided by CED under the Quebec Economic Development Program covers various fees related to a shortened 2020 edition of the festival and marketing fees outside Canada for the 2021 edition.

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 Parc Safari in Hemmingford has been able to count on $967,338 in assistance to maintain its activities.

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.

Quotes

“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

“I am delighted that the Government of Canada is supporting businesses and organizations in the tourism industry in the Montérégie region 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!”

Brenda Shanahan, Member of Parliament for Châteauguay-Lacolle

“Tourism businesses and attractions contribute to the quality of life of citizens and tourists in every region. We realize their impact even more in a crisis, and they are key to kickstarting the economic and tourism recovery in Montérégie.”

Mario Leblanc, Chief Executive Officer, Tourisme Montérégie

“In 2020, the pandemic led to a loss of 70% of visitors, operating days and income for the Parc Safari. Canada Economic Development for Quebec Region’s RRRF enabled us, despite the uncertainty caused by the crisis, to cover a major shortfall in earnings and to remain, with the bank’s cooperation, at the service of families. During its 49th season in 2021, the Parc Safari will welcome its usual 320,000 guests. Thank you, CED!”

Jean-Pierre Ranger, Chairman of the Board, Parc Safari

“Particularly in these difficult times for our industry, the support of our government partners, and more specifically CED, is fundamental. It enables us to maintain the expertise we have worked to acquire over the years, to protect our brand, to prepare for the recovery, to pursue our innovations and to continue to give back to our communities. In 2020, the International de montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu was able to adapt its model, present mobile cultural activities, deliver 24 drive-in performances and support the region and industry with its digital platforms and activities. 2021 is also bringing its share of challenges, but this time, we are better prepared and will be able to launch more initiatives boosting our brand and region. Again this year, our government partners are with us!”

Éric Boivin, Chief Executive Officer, Corporation du Festival de montgolfières de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu

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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