The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for Canada Economic Development, today announced the awarding of $67,600 in repayable funding to the firm Autobus Les Sillons Inc. for the acquisition of two deluxe vehicles to transport cruise passengers stopping at Îles-de-la-Madeleine's Cap-aux-Meules port. Necessitating an overall investment of $342,000, this project will result in the creation of two new jobs, on top of the company's 20 existing positions.
Autobus Les Sillons, which offers guided bus tours of the archipelago, will use this funding to purchase two new deluxe coaches, one for 48 passengers and the other for 32, featuring panoramic windows, air conditioning and audiovisual equipment and meeting the highest international tourism standards.
"Canada Economic Development is pleased to lend its financial support to Autobus Les Sillons for this new acquisition. With this project, the company will be contributing to local efforts to draw visitors to Îles-de-la-Madeleine by offering cruise passengers the opportunity to sample the breathtaking landscapes of the archipelago and the warm hospitality of the local population. Tourism can be a powerful lever of local development and this project is yet another example of the determination of Madelinots to take their future firmly in hand," explained the Minister of State.
The international cruise industry is a booming sector, notably in Quebec. Investments in the sector are expected to triple by the year 2014, translating into an injection of some $1.4 billion in the province's economy as well as the creation and maintenance of about 3,100 jobs.
"The economic action plan adopted by the Government of Canada last January puts the emphasis on developing growth sectors like tourism and promising niches like the international cruise industry. Thus, in its efforts to better support communities situated along the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Canada Economic Development decided to increase its initial budget allocation of $46 million for the Support Initiative for International Cruise Development along the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers by an additional $12 million per year for both 2010-2011 and 2012-2013," added Minister Lebel.
The Canada Economic Development business office serving the region has identified the development of ports of call for international cruise ships as a top priority for the area. Indeed, based on several studies, Cap-aux-Meules ranks among Quebec's top six ports in terms of potential for tourism growth and economic diversification.
Sources: Karina Gagnon, communications
Canada Economic Development