The cancellation of the cruise season announced Friday by the federal will represent huge losses of about one billion dollars for the province. Quebec city and Saguenay, the news came as a cold shower on a tourism industry already weakened by the crisis.
“We’re talking about a billion spin-offs that fly off,” sighed René Trépanier, director general of the Association des croisières du Saint-Laurent. “They are hundreds of tourism businesses who do not live in 100% of cruises, but the industry is the difference between its costs and make a profit.”
The cancellation was forced by the decision of the minister of Transport Marc Garneau to ban international cruises of more than 100 passengers until October 31. Several companies had however already started to cancel their trip to Quebec in the last few weeks.
“This is not a surprise, it was almost inevitable. But it remains that we are very disappointed, especially for the tourism industry,” explains Mario Girard, president and CEO of the Port of Québec.
In the Old-Quebec, the new falls as a cold shower for the traders who had already not easy for a few weeks.
“It’s bad for the district, it is bad for Quebec, for all speakers and tour guides who accompany the cruise passengers, it is obvious”, underlines Jacques Leclerc, managing director of the boutique’s Trunk of memories.
The sector is now turning to Quebec to compensate for the loss of 210 Million dollars in benefits lost.
“We are preparing to make the promotion with the people of Quebec and to welcome as many Quebecers as possible”, resigns himself Sandra Turgeon, director general of the Cooperative of the quartier Petit Champlain.
“The tourism situation is disastrous to Quebec for the next year; there was no tourists are american, european, and asian. It’s going to be of the intra-Québec. Me, I just look forward to it being announced the reopening of the restaurants and then we can at least offer the locals come and sit on our terraces,” says Pierre Moreau, CEO of Groupe Restos Plaisirs, who owns The Pig is Crazy, The Rabbit Jumped in and The Café du Monde in the Vieux-Québec.
Hard blow for Saguenay
Promotion Saguenay, which manages the cruise season in the region of Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean for its part, has indicated that it is a season that promised to be a record that falls into the water.
“The impact for our area will be major. […] There is a significant uncertainty that prevails, no one really knows where we are going,” said Patrick Bérubé, director-general of the organization, ensuring that assistance is to be organised. “We don’t put a cross on the cruises, we put a cross on 2020”.
Mélanie Morin, the owner of the shop To me, me, located to two steps from the cruise pier to The Bay, however, specifies that it is nearly half of its annual turnover, which goes up in smoke. “We live from tourism. Yes, the international who arrive on the boats, but also of the local people, for example the Lac-Saint-Jean, who come to see the boats. […] This is a big step backward that we are doing,” laments the artist.
Cap on 2021
Ready to leave a few days to clear the shock, the industry provides, however, that it would collapse not as a result of this blow hard. We are already working on the return of cruise lines to 2021 in a formula that will still be suitable.
“We can already see the amended offer with distancing on the boats who are likely to be filled to 40% maximum. The industry will have to reinvent themselves completely,” says Mario Girard, ensuring that Québec would be prepared for any eventuality. “We have the chance to be a popular destination, we know that we will be top of the list. We will raise hand when they need it.”
The Association of cruise the Saint Lawrence believes that the industry can play a key role in the economic recovery, hence the importance of being ready in 2021. “With what it costs the government, it’s going to take new money, and that is exactly what the cruises are doing with 95% of international clientele,” remarked René Trépanier.
Blur for cruises “local”
The measure announced Friday does not, however, cruises that qualify as local. The day-trippers and québec companies that offer cruises, without accommodation remain for the moment in the nil as to which rules to apply and the ability of their boats during a potential recovery.
Even if the date of 1 July has been advanced by the federal government, the details will come later, and each province shall issue its own rules.
“We can’t wait to have the authorization to operate which ultimately we come from the provincial government and not the federal government. The sooner the better, but if the support measures for enterprises are not there, unfortunately, I have the impression that there is not a lot of ships which are to sail this summer because we will not be profitable,” responded the deputy director-general of Croisières AML, Lucie Charland.
Quebec will be going for a profitable industry
- 1 billion in economic benefits for the province as a whole
- 567 000 passengers/day expected in 2020, in the 9 ports of call
To Quebec :
- Hit hard on the tourism
- 152 stopovers cancelled
- 240 000 expected visitors
- 210$ M direct impact lost
In Saguenay :
- A record year in the water
- 64 stops cancelled
- 94 000 passengers and crew members expected to be in 2020
- $ 58.5 Million of benefits were anticipated for the region
Sources: Association des croisières du Saint-Laurent, Promotion Saguenay, Port of Quebec
WHAT THEY SAID
“We are very worried for the tourism operators who take advantage of cruises. We want to be there for the resumption of cruises, but we must ensure that they do not lose too much of the players in the way.” – René Trépanier, director general, Association des croisières du Saint-Laurent
“This is a record year that we lose. For tourism businesses seasonal, it’s going to be more than a year no income, it will be very difficult for them.” – Patrick Bérubé, director general, Promotion Saguenay
“Our thoughts today, they go into the tourism industry. For them, a new like that is catastrophic, but I think that Québec will be facing.” – Mario Girard, president and ceo, Port of Québec
“You could see it coming. Already, we had the idea that it would be very difficult to have a cruise this fall, but we are disappointed and concerned. We try to hold the shot.” – Sandra Turgeon, director-general, Cooperative, quartier Petit Champlain
– With the collaboration of Jean-Luc Lavallée
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