Transat supports four sustainable tourism projects in Canada and Cuba



    
    "Communities everywhere are taking protection and enhancement of their
               heritage and environment into their own hands,"
       says Jean-Marc Eustache, President and Chief Executive Officer

        - Transat joins forces with World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada)
          to lay the groundwork for a sustainable tourism policy in Cuba;
        - Transat joins forces with the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve in
          Ontario, for a project that aims to educate the entire region on
          the importance of obtaining green accreditation;
        - Transat joins forces with the Seigneurie des Aulnaies of Saint-
          Roch-des-Aulnaies, Quebec, which has been enhancing a unique
          heritage site for almost 40 years;
        - Transat joins forces with Les amis du Marais of Saint-Antoine-de-
          Tilly, Quebec, who are continuing their efforts to protect
          kilometres of land along the banks of the St. Lawrence River;
        - The four projects represent a total investment of $150,000 as part
          of a new program to support sustainable tourism projects launched
          by Transat in February 2007.
    

    MONTREAL, Nov. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Transat A.T. Inc., one of the world's
largest integrated tourism companies and Canada's holiday travel leader, is
supporting four sustainable tourism projects, including one launched by World
Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) to improve protection of ecosystems in Cuba
by promoting the adoption of a sustainable tourism policy.
    "We are proud to be associated with WWF-Canada's conservation initiative
in Cuba, which is one of our main sun destinations," said Jean-Marc Eustache,
President and Chief Executive Officer of Transat A.T. Inc. "The Greening Cuban
Tourism program is perfectly in keeping with the objectives of our program to
support sustainable tourism projects that aim to protect and enhance natural
and cultural heritage, to help communities benefit economically from tourism,
or to soften the impact that tourism has on the environment in both our
departure and destination countries."
    For his part, Michael Bliemsrieder, Regional Director for the Greater
Antilles, WWF-Canada, said: "WWF-Canada has been operating in Cuba for
20 years and is involved in protecting the country's ecosystems, which are
among the richest in the Wider Caribbean. In the past 15 years Cuba has
implemented major steps to ensure the conservation of its environment and the
sustainability of its resources. We are supporting the Cuban government's
review of the country's current policies in order to establish a sustainable
tourism policy that would help better manage the development of tourism.
Because Transat has been a major tour operator in Cuba for many years, this
project will enable us to pool our resources to the benefit of environmental
conservation and enhancement."
    Transat is also supporting an important green-accreditation project by
the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, which is located in the Thousand Islands
region of Ontario. The reserve's objective is to encourage businesses and
organizations working in various tourism-related industries - marinas, golf
courses, accommodation, etc. - to obtain green accreditation. Like ISO
standards, green accreditation is granted by an independent organization,
valid for a specific period, to organizations that voluntarily adopt an
approach aimed at reducing their environmental footprint. This project is part
of an extensive three-year sustainable tourism program that promotes the
development of a national sustainable tourism model for biosphere reserves.
    Transat has also selected two other projects to support along the
St. Lawrence River in Quebec. The company is supporting the Seigneurie des
Aulnaies, an interpretation centre on the seigniorial system located in
Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies and a first-class tourism site in the Côte-du-Sud
region. The funds will be used to implement the centre's five-year plan to
strengthen its mission to protect and enhance the architectural and cultural
heritage of the seigniory, which includes a classified manor and mill. Lastly,
Transat is also supporting a project undertaken by the Les Amis du marais de
Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly corporation, which is involved in enhancing the
recreational-tourism benefits of the marsh and 10-kilometre hiking trail along
the river in Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, a village considered to be one of the
most picturesque in Quebec.
    "We would like to congratulate these four organizations which, through
their commitment and dynamism, have for many years successfully protected and
enhanced the natural and cultural heritage that today symbolize the wealth and
pride of these communities. Their efforts have already yielded results and we
hope our support will enable them to go further," Mr. Eustache concluded.
    The four projects were selected from more than 100 applications submitted
as part of a program that Transat launched in spring 2007 to support
sustainable tourism projects. In this first year of the program, each project
will receive between $7,500 and $50,000, with the latter being the maximum
amount granted to any one project under this program.

    About Transat

    Transat A.T. Inc. is an integrated international tour operator with more
than 60 destination countries and that distributes products in over 50
countries. A holiday travel specialist, Transat operates mainly in Canada and
Europe, as well as in the Caribbean, Mexico and the Mediterranean Basin.
Montreal-based Transat is also active in air transportation, destination
services and distribution. (TSX: TRZ.B, TRZ.A).

    
           SUSTAINABLE TOURISM PROJECTS FUNDED BY TRANSAT IN 2007

    Greening Cuban Tourism, WWF-Canada, Toronto, Ontario and Cuba

    Greening Cuban Tourism is a three-year program whose goal is to pave the
way for the adoption of a national sustainable tourism policy in Cuba. During
the first phase, the World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada), in conjunction
with the government of Cuba, will develop and validate sustainable tourism
performance indicators as part of pilot projects to be carried out in at least
two of the following four locations: Varadero beach, Cienaga de Zapata
Biosphere Reserve, Vinales Valley and Las Terrazas at Sierra del Rosario
Biosphere Reserve. WWF-Canada is working closely with the Cuban
non-governmental organization Antonio Nunez Jimenez Foundation of Man and
Nature to set up workshops and local consultations. The final phase of the
project consists of educating Canada's tourism industry and travellers about
the principles of sustainable tourism in Cuba. Transat will contribute $50,000
to the project.

    Information: Joshua Laughren, Director of Communications, 416-484-7708


    Green Accreditation project, Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, Lansdowne,
    Ontario

    Frontenac Arch, which gained UNESCO recognition as a biosphere reserve in
2002, encompasses more than 7,000 km2 in the Thousand Islands region midway
between Montreal and Toronto. Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve's Green
Accreditation project consists of conducting a series of workshops for
regional stakeholders in various industries (marinas, golf courses,
accommodation, tourism promotion organizations, etc.) to initiate them to and
encourage them to obtain green accreditation. The project also includes a
recognition program for companies that have been accredited. Transat is the
initiative's only financial partner and is contributing $40,000. The project
is part of an extensive three-year sustainable tourism program aimed at
creating a national sustainable tourism model for biosphere reserves.
    Launched in 1974 to improve relations between human beings and their
environment globally, UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere program targets the use
of ecological, social and economic means to reduce biodiversity loss.

    Information : Don Ross, Executive Director, 613-659-4824


    La Seigneurie des Aulnaies, Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies, Quebec

    Created in 1969 to protect and enhance the heritage site of the Seigneurie
des Aulnaies, which is located in the tourism area of Côte-du-Sud, east of
Quebec City, the Corporation touristique de la Seigneurie des Aulnaies is
implementing a five-year development plan that will enable Quebec's most
complete interpretation centre on seigniorial system of New France to remain a
first-rate tourist and cultural attraction and a regional leader in
sustainable tourism. The $50,000 contribution from Transat will be used partly
to fund the preservation and restoration of classified buildings, which
include a manor and a mill, the construction of an ecological welcoming
centre, and the enhancement of the site's activities and permanent exhibition.

    Information: Pierre Bussières, General Manager, 418-354-2800


    Enhancement of the recreational and tourism potential of the banks of the
    St. Lawrence River, Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Quebec

    The mission of the Corporation Les Amis du marais de
Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, created in 1997, is to protect and enhance the banks
of the St. Lawrence River at Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly in the
Chaudière-Appalaches tourism region just west of Quebec City. The organization
has taken measures to improve public access to the river, to establish sites
from which enthusiasts can observe marsh fauna and flora, and to promote the
environmental, heritage and socioeconomic values of the river bank. The
project presented to Transat consists of enhancing the recreational-tourism
potential of the marsh area and an approximately ten-kilometre-long hiking
trail, while promoting sustainable development. The organization has been
granted $7,500 to develop several initiatives, including a website.

    Information: Chantal Dubois, Tourism Development Agent, Office de tourisme
de Lotbinière, 418-926-2205, ext. 210
    




For further information:

For further information: Media: Jean-Michel Laberge, Advisor, External
Communication, (514) 987-1660, ext. 4662, jean-michel.laberge@transat.com;
Source: Transat A.T. Inc., www.transat.com


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