Taking care of business: Initiatives that are relaunching Montréal
Created in the midst of the Spanish flu pandemic in 1919, Tourisme Montréal has weathered more than one storm in its 101-year history. In 2020, we faced the health crisis that crippled the global tourism industry. We worked tirelessly with governments and our partners, often as fund managers, to re-establish the city as an unparalleled destination, including the deployment of a broad range of financial and support tools available to industry players. Which just goes to show that obstacles are often no match for concerted action.
When the coronavirus spread all over the world, all industry players across the province mobilized, stepping up efforts to preserve our assets while promoting innovation. Today, as herd immunity gains ground day by day, the strength of Montréal's economic recovery is not in doubt. Below is a brief overview of the programs and initiatives that have been organized to help the industry bounce back — more vibrant than ever.
Strategic Tourism Assets Retention Fund (STAR Fund)
The Québec government entrusted Tourisme Montréal with the management of the STAR Fund. This $12.5-million program is designed to support large-scale projects with high outreach potential that promote traffic in the expanded downtown area. These projects will help maintain the city's tourism assets alive.
Regional Tourism Partnership Agreement (RTPA)
To make sure the sector bounces back post-pandemic, it is imperative that the assets related to each of Québec's tourism gateways be preserved. This is the objective of the RTPA, which aims to stimulate the economy of the regions by maintaining a quality tourism offer — by promoting innovation and by offering tourism businesses new market opportunities. In the new zeitgeist, the tourism offer is likely to be innovative, sustainable, and complementary.
Digital Business Development Agreement (DBDA)
Far from shrivelling up during the pandemic, digital landscapes flourished, forever changing our daily habits along the way. An initiative of the Québec government, the DBDA enables all regional tourism associations to help businesses accelerate their digital transformation and create innovative content to enhance the visitor experience. In short, the DBDA is driving digital experiences.
Support for Stakeholders in Business and Sport Tourism (SITAS)
In Montréal, the business and sport tourism sectors yield — and will continue to yield — big benefits for the local economy. The SITAS program aims to stimulate local initiatives for hosting business and sporting events that lay the groundwork for recovery while generating spin-offs for the community. The projects supported, which will be announced shortly, will be attractive to planners and allow Montréal to shine on the national and international scene.
A flurry of additional support initiatives
Other initiatives have been deployed to support and sustain the city’s tourism offer. The provincial government has created a $10 million fund to promote innovation in tourism, which it has entrusted to MTLab. Founded by Tourisme Montréal and UQÀM (Université du Québec à Montréal), MTLab is the first start-up incubator dedicated to tourism, culture, and entertainment in North America. Québec has also granted $3.5 million to the Institut de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec to support restaurant owners and hoteliers in their digital transformation, while encouraging the next generation in this important niche market.
Buckle up, Montréal is about to bounce back!
While the seemingly endless interlude has left its fair share of scars and lessons to be learned, it has above all brought to light the incredible spirit of the players in Montréal's tourism sector, as well as their extraordinary strength and resilience. Building on these achievements, Montréal will soon be reopening its doors to visitors from around the world, who will be treated to an enhanced, warm, innovative, and sustainable offer, in keeping with the image of our beloved city.