MONTREAL, Nov. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - It is with great enthusiasm that the network of the four national sanctuaries of Québec and their four affiliated regional tourist associations announce the completion of a preliminary tourism marketing plan for the following places of worship: Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal (Montréal), the Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré Basilica, Our Lady of the Cape Shrine (Trois-Rivières), and Saint-Anthony's Hermitage (Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean). This plan will provide the opportunity to lead marketing actions, for the first time, at the annual World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) Expo, which takes place this year in Montréal (from November 13 to 16, at the Palais des congrès); to develop a joint Internet site; to produce a common promotional brochure in French and English; and to create a first-rate welcome plan to greet the journalists and travel agents attending the WRTA Expo. The objective of employing this dynamic action plan is clearly to make Québec one of the most prized religious and spiritual tourism destinations in the world due to its unique heritage, highlighted by its four national sanctuaries.
"Religious tourism is a quickly growing industry in the world at the moment. The World Tourism Organization estimates that 300 million people of faith take part in this activity, representing more than 18 billion dollars in consumer spending, of which 60% is done by North Americans. This is an impressive pool of tourists for our sanctuaries, which despite their undeniable popularity, are still relatively unknown on the international level. In joining forces through a collective action plan, the four national sanctuaries of Québec and the four tourism associations will be able to better impact this market and attract even more foreign visitors to Québec in the coming years," declared Mr. Carol Martel, Chief Executive Officer of Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.
"With the recent canonization of Brother André, tourist attention has moved towards the exceptional religious and spiritual heritage of Québec in a way that has not been witnessed in a long time. The opportunity to shine light on our four sanctuaries is therefore favourable. The annual World Religious Travel Expo, which is being held in our city for the first time, welcomes approximately 500 key players from the religious tourism industry. Since these specialists, who hail from the four corners of the world, are potential promotional agents for our sanctuaries, we count on doing everything it takes to make their Québec experience a memorable one," added Mr. Pierre Bellerose from Tourisme Montréal.
The marketing action plan will be carried out thanks to the financial support of the Ministère du Tourisme du Québec and Canada Economic Development (CED). Their contributions will help to implement the action plan for the promotion and development of the four Catholic pilgrimage sanctuaries of Québec, financed, in part, by the sanctuaries themselves and their respective Association touristique régionale (ATR): Tourisme Montréal, l'Office du tourisme de Québec, Tourisme Mauricie, and Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. The implementation of this plan is the concrete result of a conclusive 2010 study on the potential of religious and spiritual tourism. According to recent data, the four national sanctuaries of Québec collectively attract three million visitors, thus making them the premier tourist attraction of Québec.
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