The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
endorses Spectra's request to hold
the FrancoFolies in June for a two-year trial period
Montreal, May 16, 2005 Each year, Montreal attracts over 7 million tourists (just about the equivalent of the population of Quebec) who inject over $2 billion into our economy (Montreal and Quebec). Montreal's reputation as a festive city is the overriding reason tourists come here; in fact, it's become our trademark.
It is interesting to noteparticularly from the perspective of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montrealthat in addition to providing Montrealers with countless opportunities to have fun, this festive character has become a lever of economic development.
In fact, the quality of the events in Montreal has created a virtuous circle that attracts participants from outside our borders, which in turn increases the number of tourists and helps spread the City's reputation around the globe.
We must therefore recognize the contribution Montreal's festivals make to the economy. However, while we must not lose sight of the festive aspect of these events, it is in our collective interest to remember that this is still a business and therefore contemplate ways to further boost its contribution.
In short, we think Montreal would do well to maximize the spinoffs of all the excellent events organized on its territory.
This brings us to the subject of Spectra and the FrancoFolies. In terms of festivals, Spectra is unquestionably a major player. Since the creation of the Montreal International Jazz Festival 26 years ago, Spectra has demonstrated its creativity and acquired impressive expertise in festival organization. It was behind the creation of the FrancoFolies 17 years ago, not to mention other events such as the Festival Montréal en lumière 6 years ago and La Grande Mascarade just last year. Spectra has also inspired other organizations that together offer more than 50 festivals during the year.
> This poses the welcome problem of how to accommodate all these quality events. We have two options: build a calendar aimed at avoiding scheduling conflicts or find an organization that focuses on added value. The second is by far the option preferred by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
Consequently, given the positive economic and tourist-related spinoffs we can anticipate, the Board of Trade endorses Spectra's request to the government to hold the FrancoFolies in June for a two-year trial period.
In fact, we believe that the need in 2006 to hold the FrancoFolies in Junemade necessary by the Gay Games being held in Augustprovides the opportunity to carefully measure, over two years, the impact this change will have on tourist, economic and cultural activity in Montreal and across Quebec. And we have many reasons to believe that this change will be good for Montreal and Quebec.
- First, moving the FrancoFolies to June should boost tourist traffic during a period that is far more quiet than August. Indeed, given that August is peak vacation season both here and overseas, hotel occupancy during that time is already high, which is not the case for the period between the Montreal Grand Prix F1 and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. We therefore think that holding the FrancoFolies in June could increase hotel occupancy and attendance at tourist attractions in the Montreal area.
- In this vein, we believe that all of Quebec stands to gain: if we can attract tourists from abroad in June, they will likely visit other areas of Quebec as well.
- Moreover, moving the FrancoFolies to June could also be good from the point of view of spreading the news about French music throughout the metropolitan region. Since Montrealers also tend to take their vacations in July and August, holding this event in June would increase the number of Montreal attendees, which would in turn, allow up-and-coming artists to reach more people and then benefit from the increased exposure throughout the year.
Few festivals in Montreal and in Quebec have the same scope as the FrancoFolies. Some people believe that this is yet one more reason not to tamper with the status quo. But the Board of Trade believes that it's precisely this scope that gives the Montreal and the Quebec economy a potential leverage that few other events can match. And once we recognize the FrancoFolies' potential, it becomes difficult to argue against trying to exploit this event to the fullest insofar as it serves the economic interests of Montreal and Quebec.
It bears reiterating that the Board of Trade views this matter from a global perspective. While we are certainly concerned about the effect that moving the FrancoFolies will have on other events, we are also interested in the impact on all the other related industries such as restaurants and hotels. Given the scope of the FrancoFolies, this impact is sufficiently great to justify that the entire Montreal community back the two-year trial period Spectra is requesting.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montreal and to provide individuals, merchants and businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.