Tourism Quebec has announced $475,000 in financial support to Cruise the Saint Lawrence (CSL).

"At this juncture, it is essential to consolidate and maximize returns from investments under the Strategy for the Sustainable Development and Promotion of International Cruise Shipping on the Saint Lawrence River by enhancing the quality of cruise shipping experience at each of our ports of call. CSL plays a key role in a number of areas and has enjoyed remarkable success in soliciting and attracting ever increasing numbers of international cruise line companies to our shores. Hence my presence among you today to proudly confirm our contribution to Québec's nine ports of call," stated Pascal Bérubé, Minister responsible for Tourism and the Lower Saint Lawrence Region,

"This contribution will enable us to take the lead in terms of positioning the Destination Saint Lawrence brand and Québec-based river cruises with external markets. As a result, we will be poised to contribute actively to bringing the government's vision to fruition. We will further enjoy the wherewithal to mobilize companies across the regions concerned, including our major urban centres, to involve themselves in implementing a greeting policy designed to enhance the overall visitor experience in our international cruise ports from Montréal to Îles de la Madeleine!" added Priscilla Nemey, president of Cruise the Saint Lawrence.

2012: A Record Season

With the season now ended, Minister Bérubé took the occasion to underscore the highly impressive cruises traffic figures posted by Destination Saint Lawrence for 2012. In total, 230,000 passengers and 90 000 crew members visited the different ports of call.

As a result of the return of Norwegian Cruise Line, Gaspé, Québec and Saguenay welcomed over 36 000 additional passengers into port, with Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas contributing a further 24 000.

Minister Bérubé also congratulated those ports of call which had been obligated to rise to unanticipated challenges wrought by stormy or inclement weather. "The choices made by cruise companies in instances of the like speak volumes about industry confidence in the quality and capacity of our new ports of call," added Minister Bérubé.

In closing, Nemey presented a brief overview of the traffic outlook for 2013. Based on current data, passengers are expected in equivalent numbers at Québec's ports of call in 2013.

Nemey went on to underline the redeployment of some of Holland America Line’s ships on the Saint Lawrence in 2013, which will translate into increased traffic in the months of July and August. Additionally, the Sojourn, owned and operated by luxury cruise line Seabourn, plans to operate three cruises on the Saint Lawrence with embarkation/disembarkation operations based in Montréal. The ship will be stopping in at seven Saint Lawrence ports of call, namely Montréal, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Saguenay, Baie‑Comeau, Gaspé and Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

"Destination Saint Lawrence achieved a significant traffic plateau in 2012 and the forecast for the year ahead provides proof positive that Québec is ever increasingly becoming a destination of choice for international passengers. Cruise companies are choosing to offer Destination Saint Lawrence as a result of consistently positive passenger experience," Minister Bérubé stated in closing.

Cruise the Saint Lawrence groups together partners involved in the development and promotion of the nine ports of call located along the shores of the Saint Lawrence River. The mission of the organization is to position Destination Saint Lawrence with cruise companies by defining and coordinating development efforts and partner/port of call attributes, the ultimate aim being to build a genuine ‘Cruise the Saint Lawrence’ brand.

The Strategy for the Sustainable Development and Promotion of International Cruiseshipping on the Saint Lawrence River seeks to support and assist municipalities, organizations and private sector interests in implementing, between now and March 2013, a network of strategic stopovers designed to provide cruise line operators with international calibre itinerary choices and visitor experiences. The Government of Québec's contribution to aid in implementing this strategy amounts to $52.5 million. As set out under the 2012‑2020 Tourism Industry Development Plan, Tourisme Québec will continue to intervene and provide support for the development and promotion of international cruise tourism on the Saint Lawrence through to March 31 2016.