A NEW REASON TO VACATION IN THE OUTAOUAIS: THE REGION’S FIRST TOURIST ROUTE, CHEMINS D’EAU, IS OFFICIALLY OPEN
Outaouais, June 19, 2017 - The long-awaited Chemins d’eau (“waterways”) tourist route is officially launched today in several locations across the Outaouais. This promising regional project involves nearly 100 partners along a 278 km water-themed route.
The new tourist route highlights the natural and cultural treasures of the Outaouais, and follows the Ottawa River and its three main tributaries: the Gatineau, the Lièvre and the Petite-Nation. As a major trade route for copper, then furs and lumber, the Ottawa River played a key role in the development of the region and the nation as a whole, and remains a unifying feature of the area.
The launch announcement, held in the RCMs of Pontiac, Papineau, Collines-de-l’Outaouais and the City of Gatineau, marked the official opening of the route to visitors. Blue tourism road signs are being installed along the route and on highways nearby. The signs are complemented by seven traveller information panels that provide information about the natural and cultural heritage of the Outaouais and key local attractions.
The marketing strategies to promote the route in its inaugural year include:
Besides inviting visitors to make a real connection with the Outaouais, the route will have a major economic impact on the region. According to a 2013 study by the Transat Chair in Tourism at UQAM’s School of Management Science,1 visitors to a tourist route spend more than $1,000 during their stay (total spending per group). Visitors—particularly those from outside Quebec—tend to stay longer in a region that has a tourist route. The data also indicate that about one-third of visitors report the tourist route as the main reason for their visit.
The Comité de signalisation des routes et des circuits touristiques (tourist routes signage committee), composed of representatives of Quebec’s Ministère du Tourisme, the Ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports, and the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec, is the agency that certified the Chemins d’eau as an official tourist route in the Outaouais region.
“The Chemins d’eau is the 18th tourist route in Quebec and the first in the Outaouais. I’m delighted that the Government of Quebec has contributed to the implementation of this original and entertaining project, which will allow visitors to experience the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. We anticipate that the year 2017 will draw an exceptional number of visitors and tourists for the Canada 150 celebrations, I believe visitors will really appreciate this new way to discover the region.”
—Stéphanie Vallée, MNA for Gatineau, Minister of Justice and Minister responsible for the Outaouais region
“The Chemins d’eau tourist route strengthens and structures the Outaouais region’s tourism offer, and highlights our most striking natural resources. It’s an honour to inaugurate such a unifying and defining regional project. We would like to acknowledge the contributions of the route’s valued partners and attractions, without whom the project would not have been possible, and we look forward to welcoming additional partners.”
—Manuela Teixeira, chair, Outaouais Tourism board of directors
“I applaud this wonderful project, which will shine a new light on the Outaouais region, particularly the city of Gatineau. With its two lakes and three rivers, Gatineau is ideally positioned to showcase its history and culture through the water-themed Chemins d’eau route.”
—Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Mayor of de Gatineau
“It was via our magnificent rivers, our waterways, that our wonderful territory was explored and developed. The Papineau RCM is extremely happy to participate in the inauguration of this new regional tourist route. Our attractions and events stand ready to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors! Thanks to the Chemins d’eau, visitors can discover our beautiful landscapes and rich history, and take part in an amazing variety of activities.”
—Paulette Lalande, Prefect, Papineau RCM
“Today, I am honoured and very proud to participate in the inauguration of the first tourist route in the Outaouais. For us, the Chemins d’eau marks the completion of a major project that came together thanks to the combined efforts of our regional partners and Outaouais Tourism.”
—Raymond Durocher, Prefect, Pontiac RCM
“The Chemins d’eau themed route is the result of extensive regional cooperation coordinated by the professional team at Outaouais Tourism. Selecting the theme, designing a route that met regional requirements and Tourisme Québec standards, identifying the tourism sites that fit the theme, and securing funding are only a few of the stages the project had to go through before today’s official opening. I salute you, and say bravo!”
–Robert Bussière, Prefect, Collines-de-l’Outaouais RCM
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About Outaouais Tourism
Outaouais Tourism is a private, not-for-profit organization created by and for the tourism industry 35 years ago. A preferred contact and partner of the Quebec government in the tourism field, Outaouais Tourism contributes to the region’s economic development by coordinating regional tourism plans and projects, visitor services, information, marketing and development.