René Trépanier, director of the Cruise the Saint Lawrence Sssociation, sees his group and region taking its next major step within the next two to three years.
“The destination is still growing," he said. "2016 bookings are all completed so our focus is really on 2017.”
Making up the nine ports on the St. Lawrence, Quebec and Montreal anchor the group and Trépanier hopes to attract another cruise line to do round-trip sailings on the river, meeting cabotage laws with a visit to Saint Pierre and Miquelon.
In addition, the group has a strong base of smaller brands and European lines that visit the region in its key fall season. MSC formerly sailed in Canada/New Englandm and Trépanier hopes to lure back the Switzerland-based company as it builds up in North America.
“We are offering cruise lines a comparable yield of what they would get elsewhere,” Trépanier explained. “We want more business in the summer, but are still indentified as a fall foliage destination. We have proven to several lines we have a case for a great summer product and they can get very good yields here as compared to the Mediterranean, Baltic or Alaska.
“It’s hard to paint one picture of what Canada/New England is,” he continued, “and that is something that characterizes us, all the ports are so different.”