Tourism minister says investment will help boost economy while winter sports face reality of climate change
With climate change shortening the winter season and melting away the ski industry's profit margins, the Quebec government is earmarking $11 million to transform alpine resorts into year-round businesses.
Caroline Proulx, the province's tourism minister, said the idea is to "really to develop our mountains in Quebec."
Proulx said Quebec's mountains can also be used for mountain biking, zip lining, hiking and camping.
She said there can be observation posts to check out the views and other activities that take advantage of the landscape. There could be tours of the local area and foods, or cultural events at the foot of the mountain, she said.
Quebec is inviting nine regions known for their mountains to submit a four-season plan to diversify their offering to tourists.
"We always talk about seasonality in Quebec. We have two big poles: winter and summer. Now, we have to make sure to develop over four seasons," she said.
Investing in the mountains, she explained, will help bring more money to the regions surrounding the alpine resorts.
The head of Tourisme Charlevoix, Mitchell Dion, said the plan will help with staffing shortages.
"It's always easier to recruit when we offer jobs that are four seasons," Dion said. "It's also better for the economy, for the local communities."
Dion said his region has already started working on attractions for summer, spring and fall.
"If we could manage to raise occupancy rates and attendance in tourism businesses a little, we could really have a higher quality of employment," Dion said,
The marketing director for Mount Sutton in the Eastern Townships said the extra money from the government will help alpine resorts and tourism pick up again after more than two years of pandemic.
"Over the last three years, we've implemented, with some partners, mountain biking," said Nadya Baron.
"We also have a new zip line. We have camping and we do the chairlift rides seven days on seven all summer long."
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