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Thursday,  June 13, 2024 12:58 AM 

Club Med: ski village will bring the world to Charlevoix


Club Med: ski village will bring the world to Charlevoix
(From left) Jean-Yves Duclos, Federal Minister for Family, Children and Social Development; Konrad Sioui, Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation; Claude Choquette, President of Groupe Le Massif; Dominique Anglade , Deputy Premier and Minister of the Economy; Daniel Gauthier, Chairman of the Board of Groupe Le Massif; Caroline Simard; Member of Parliament for Charlevoix-Côte-de-Beaupré; Gérald Maltais, Mayor of Petite-Rivière-Saint-François; Véronyque Tremblay, Minister Responsible for Transportation; Régis Labeaume, Mayor of Quebec City and President of the Forum of Elected Officials; and Xavier Mufraggi, Club Med North America President and CEO.

“A Club Med at home means an international reputation for Le Massif and for Charlevoix," said Daniel Gauthier, chairman of Groupe Le Massif, during a press conference in Quebec City regarding Club Med’s plans to open its first Canadian property by the end of 2020.

The $120 million project, involving both Groupe Le Massif and Club Med, will see the development of a four-season mountain resort offering 300 rooms, including 4-Trident Club and Deluxe-level rooms with a 5-Trident luxury space. The village will be located 90 minutes from Quebec International Airport. The construction of the hotel complex will begin this spring.

Plans to develop partnerships with other suppliers are already in place, said Club Med.

4.jpgXavier Mufraggi, president & CEO of Club Med North America

The new property will join more than 20 Club Med ski villages already established in France, Italy, Switzerland, Japan and China, counting for more than 6,000 rooms worldwide; through 2019. Club Med will open one to two mountain resorts per year.

Xavier Mufraggi, president of Club Med North America estimated that the customer base will be 60 per cent North American in winter and 60 per cent "international" in summer, which should translate into a six per cent increase of arrivals at Québec City Airport, where current traffic is approximately 1.6 million passengers.

Muffragi pointed out that the 24 ski villages that Club Med currently operates in the Alps and in Asia have occupancy rates of 90 to 95 per cent during the winter season. Projections for the new complex, which will be operational 300 days a year, are a little more modest: 85 per cent in winter and 70 per cent in summer. Forecasts show 50,000 customers a year for a total of 210,000 hotel days sold, with the property generating plenty of interest in the U.S. and South America, Muffragi said.

This project will also draw more accommodation development on the site, where there are currently dozens of cottages and chalets along the mountainside. Groupe HJ2, which is linked to Groupe Germain, is currently building 42 additional chalets at the top of the mountain, between the parking lot and one of the lifts.

3.jpg Daniel Gauthier, Chairman of the Board of Groupe Le Massif

Of the $120 million total, $84 million will be invested by a private consortium consisting of Club Med; Daniel Gauthier and his former partner and co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte through his firm Lune Rouge; the Germain Group (which already operates the Germain Charlevoix hotel, in the nearby town of Baie St-Paul); and Pierre Thabet, an entrepreneur from Beauce.

Muffragi refused to confirm the information circulating that Club Med's investment amounted to $ 14 million.

"As is the case for the vast majority of the villages we operate, we will not be owners, but we will be the managers," he explained. "Our investment takes many forms: training, salaries, marketing with global reach and more. In this case, or we take a direct stake in the financing, but it is rather exceptional."

Note that the management contract of the Club covers a period of 15 years. Governments commit $36.1 million in secured loans, repayable on fixed dates (the deadline has not been released). More than two-thirds, or $26.3 million, comes from Quebec government development funds (including $5 million from a Ministry of Tourism development fund). The contribution from the Fed will be $ 9.8 million.

Le Massif currently sells 185,000 ski days a year and Club Med is committed to buying 75,000 more ski days per year.

With a vertical drop of 770 meters, the ski resort has the highest elevation gain in eastern Canada and the second highest in eastern North America (behind Whiteface Mountain, New York State). The 165-hectare (406-acre) ski area is served by five lifts, including a gondola, for a capacity of 10,060 skiers per hour. It receives, on average, 6.4 meters of snow per year and the promoters can count on 391 snow cannons, as needed.

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