Minister of Tourism Nicole Ménard, Minister of Transport and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale Region Sam Hamad, Québec City Mayor Régis Labeaume, Québec Port Authority President and CEO Ross Gaudreault, and Créneau d’excellence tourisme : patrimoine, culture et nature President Guy Desrosiers, are pleased to announce a strategy to tap Québec City’s potential as a port of embarkation and disembarkation and home port for new international cruises. This $1.9 million project will position Québec City as a unique and authentic destination brimming with international caliber activities combining culture, heritage, and nature inways unimaginable anywhere else in North America, and which fit into the framework of the Capitale-Nationale region’s ACCORD initiative. Economic development agency Québec International will oversee the project’s implementation.

In 2009 the Port of Québec welcomed some 53,400 port-of-call passengers and 33,000 destination passengers. Port-of-call passengers spend an average of $102 during their visits, whereas destination passengers departing from or arriving at Québec City spend an average of $428.

"This project is a perfect fit with my ministry’s Strategy for the Sustainable Development and Promotion of International Cruises on the St. Lawrence, which is why I’ve supported it from the very beginning. This Créneau d’excellence tourisme initiative will help us achieve our primary goal of making the St. Lawrence a major international cruise destination within North America," enthused Minister Nicole Ménard.

"To maximize returns from this rapidly growing industry, Québec City needs to further position itself as a port of embarkation and disembarkation so as to get even more tourists hooked on our incredible vistas, charming tourist attractions, and exceptional quality of life," added Minister Sam Hamad.

"Our city has everything it needs to attract even more visitors," said Mayor Labeaume. "Initiatives like the one announced today are crucial to developing our market and establishing Québec City as a top destination for cruise enthusiasts. The Port’s service is truly exceptional and the city keeps improving its tourism attractions. The Image Mill and Cirque du Soleil shows are really just the beginning!"

Project Goals:

• Boost the number of destination passengers to 40,000 by 2010 (12,000 in 2007)

• Generate stays in commercial accommodations throughout the Québec City and

Charlevoix tourism regions

• Increase passenger traffic at Jean Lesage International Airport

• Trigger additional spending on cruise ship refueling, maintenance, and repairs

• Contribute to the development of other destinations in eastern Québec

• Drive returns in other industry sectors

Port of Québec President and CEO Ross Gaudreault asserted, "By working together we achieve strength in numbers. The cruise industry has gone global, and competition is fierce. That said, we have all the strengths necessary to succeed in driving growth in our region, which will in turn contribute momentum to cruise tourism development all along the St. Lawrence."

The following partners will contribute to the project’s funding: the City of Québec; Ministère du Tourisme; Québec City Tourism; Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation; Bureau de la Capitale-Nationale; the Québec Port Authority; Jean Lesage International Airport; Association touristique régionale de Charlevoix; Centre local de développement de Québec; and Conférence régionale des élus de la Capitale-Nationale.