MONTREAL, March 20, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Following the tabling of the provincial budget, Tourisme Montréal is delighted by the measures announced by Finance Minister Raymond Bachand. The 2012-2013 budget includes an investment of 465 million dollars over five years for the tourist sector and a legacy of 125 million dollars to prepare for Montréal's 375th anniversary. Tourism will enjoy increased funding for events and festivals, fund creation for the development of tourist attractions, as well as the implementation of major projects within the city.
A result of industry input, including the work of the Tourism Steering Committee and the Strategy Roundtable of Tourism Minister Nicole Ménard, the announcements made in the new Bachand budget clearly reflect industry needs. "The measures announced represent concrete actions, and we believe that they will stimulate growth. We see this budget as a clear message recognizing the role of tourism in the economy," stated the Honourable Charles Lapointe, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourisme Montréal.
In Québec, tourism generates over 11 billion dollars in annual revenue, ranking it 4th among provincial export products. The Montréal region alone welcomed a total of 7.8 million tourists in 2011.
Support for tourist attraction development
One of the needs established by the Québec tourist industry as a whole relates to the challenge of tourist product renewal. The Minister of Finance announced the creation of a loan and loan guarantee program so as to reach this goal through private investment. This program of 85 million dollars over five years will allow for the generation of over 166 million dollars of investment in the Québec tourist industry. Investissement Québec Tourisme (IQ Tourisme), a new division of Investissement Québec that specializes in this sector with specific needs, will be responsible for managing the program.
Increased funding for the event industry
Montréal events and festivals greatly contribute to the city's appeal. The government foresees a supplementary investment of 22.5 million dollars in this sector over the next five years. Funding for the program Aide financière aux festivals et événements touristiques (Financial Assistance for Festivals and Tourist Events) will thus increase from 12.5 million dollars to 15 million dollars in 2012, and then to 17.5 million dollars as of 2013. Tourisme Montréal predicts that this increase will not only be extremely beneficial to the city's competitive edge on the international scene, but will also promote innovation and performance in the event industry. Support for sporting events is also planned.
The execution of major Montréal projects
As the 375th anniversary of the founding of Montréal approaches, the allocation of a 125 million dollar legacy by the government to the city will allow for the launch of major projects, already deemed as a priority for the tourist industry by Tourisme Montréal.
Consequently, Saint Joseph's Oratory will receive an investment of 26 million dollars for the renovation of its infrastructures and to build an observatory in the basilica's dome. Furthermore, an investment of 45 million dollars will allow the Montréal Space for Life to make renovations on its site, notably at the Biodôme, the Botanical Garden and the Insectarium.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) will receive funding in the amount of 18.5 million dollars in order to build an international art pavilion as part of Montréal's 375th anniversary celebrations. This project will allow the Museum to house a collection of 80 works by Old Masters valued at 75 million dollars, a generous donation by two great Montréal philanthropists, Michal and Renata Hornstein. This collection constitutes the most significant private contribution ever donated to a Québec museum in modern history, and the second largest in Canada.
In addition, Parc Jean-Drapeau, which welcomes over 11 million visitors annually, will receive 35 million dollars for the implementation of a riverside boardwalk between Notre-Dame and Sainte-Hélène islands. Finally, supplementary assistance in the amount of 4 million dollars attributed to the McCord Museum and the Stewart Museum, having undertaken the steps to amalgamate, will provide Montréal with a comprehensive museum of history that could become a major tourist attraction. The Minister also announced support for the expansion of the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.
"The funding of these various projects falls directly in line with Tourisme Montréal's vision of tourist product development. These investments will undoubtedly contribute to the promotion and enhancement of our city's reputation on the eve of our 375th anniversary, and that is a cause for celebration!", concluded Charles Lapointe.
About Tourisme Montréal
Tourisme Montréal is responsible for providing leadership in the concerted efforts of hospitality and promotion in order to position the destination on leisure and business travel markets. It is also responsible for developing Montréal's tourism product in accordance with the ever-changing conditions of the market. For more information, please visit www.tourisme-montreal.org.
For further information:
Vice President - Public Relations, Product Research and Development
514 653-0879 (cell.)
Manager - Corporate Public Relations
514 994-5639 (cell.)