Quebec's $750M boost to tourism will include cheap package travel deals and hotel loans
MONTREAL -- The Legault government is providing $750 million to the tourism industry, an industry particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, to aid in its recovery.
The details were met with both enthusiasm and dismay on Thursday, depending on who you ask.
Travellers are happy that this will be an unusually inexpensive year to see their own province.
Tourism is opening back up: people will be able to visit certain artisans’ workshops, tourist farms, public gardens and parks and aquariums all over Quebec, and partake in maritime excursions as of July 1st.
A big component of the plan to support the industry comes in the form of package deals -- 30 to 40 packages will be offered to Quebecers for hotel stays and attractions, at substantial discounts, to encourage them to go out and explore Quebec.
Hoteliers were less happy with they were offered—a great deal of the money coming to them is in the form of loans, $200 million worth.
It has generous terms, but it’s still loans instead of direct aid, with the government also promising to refund to hotels the $14 million they collected in marketing taxes already.
“I prefer to go with the loan, because you leverage that,” explained Pierre Fitzgibbon, Quebec’s economy minister.
The idea is to provide some short-term liquidity that hotels can use to stretch out the time they can stay afloat, he said.
“The issue is to bridge the two seasons,” he said.
The head of the hotel association, Dany Thibault, is calling this a political announcement.
He told CTV that what the industry needs now is not a cumbersome loan application process, and he’s concerned the process will be too complicated to help hotels survive in the short term.
The CEO of Tourism Montreal, Yves Lalumiere, also says he doesn't think this recovery package is what Montreal needs.
Hotels don’t need to invest more in their properties right now—the last few years of booming tourism in Montreal means that they’ve already revamped and have made all the investments they need.
“The product is already modernized,” said Lalumiere.
He said that what will really help is allowing travel again from province to province, and also from international destinations. There’s no word yet on when that kind of tourism will be reestablished.