$11.8 million dollar project in the Gaspé-Magdalen Islands region
Aqua-Mer confirms its leadership in thalassotherapy in North America
Carleton-sur-mer, March 6, 2003 - Québec Premier Bernard Landry, the owners and founders of the Aqua-Mer Centre, Yolande Dubois and Jules Corriveau, and Chair of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Société générale de financement du Québec (SGF), Claude Blanchet, today announced an investment of $11,820,000 in the Carleton thalassotherapy centre.
The expansion project includes the development of a second thalassotherapy centre to attract international tourists. The new centre will be able to take 116 clients per day year-round, in addition to the 60 treatments per day given at the existing centre during the summer season. The project also includes the development of an outstanding site covering two million square feet beside the ocean, and the construction of the Grand Hotel, a showcase for relaxation and return to fitness cures using thalassotherapy. It is scheduled to open in May 2004.
"Aqua-Mer is already firmly entrenched and well known in Québec, and wants to remain the thalassotherapy leader in North America. This project meets the need of the Gaspé/Magdalen Islands region to develop international calibre recreotouristic growth centres that will consolidate and improve the supply for North American and European tourists", said Landry.
"This development phase had become unavoidable. In the past four years, Aqua-Mer has been operating at full capacity, with nearly 2,000 clients per season. The centre combines the benefits of thalassotherapy with open-air activities. This new investment will enable us to meet the growing demand for different types of cures in a health vacation context", said owners Dubois and Corriveau.
The expansion of the centre will help create 104 jobs during the construction phase and 89 new permanent jobs at the new centre. Thalassotherapy activities should triple and capitalize on the tourism infrastructure in the Gaspé/Magdalen Islands. SGF’s $2.1 million investment will give it a minority interest in the enterprise.
"Once the project is completed, Aqua-Mer will be open all year round, which will structure employment better. In the long run, the centre will generate local economic spinoffs amounting to some $5.5 million per year. The ACCORD agreements between people in the region and SGF pinpointed two promising sectors for the Gaspé. Aqua-Mer is the first concrete step taken under ACCORD 1, supported by an integrated recreotourism development plan", added Blanchet.
Aqua-Mer promotes the beneficial properties of moving seawater, algae, mud and sea air and positions thalassotherapy as a integral part of return to fitness cures and health vacations, including open-air activities and a healthy diet (www.aquamer.ca).
The mission of the Société générale de financement du Québec (SGF) is to carry out economic development projects in cooperation with partners and in accordance with accepted requirements for profitability. Since it was restructured in 1998, SGF has generated $10.6 billion in investments and created more than 56,000 direct and indirect jobs. As of December 31, 2001, SGF’s consolidated assets totaled over $3 billion. SGF has 65 international partners operating in Québec (sgfqc.com).
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Director of Communications
Société générale de financement du Québec