The ski industry generates $800 million in economic benefits every winter in addition to the 12,000 direct jobs, making it the No. 1 winter tourism activity in Quebec, according to a study commissioned by the Quebec Ski Areas Association (ASSQ).
The ASSQ appointed Michel Archambault, Emeritus Tourism Professor of the School of Management at UQAM to measure the economic impact of the skiing industry in Quebec. The research was based on consumption data from skiers as well as operating and capital expenditures by ski resorts from 2013 to 2014. This study demonstrates, beyond any doubt, that the economic strength of many regions across the province depends greatly on the presence of ski areas in their communities, during the winter.
Quite remarkably, Mr. Archambault adds that the ski industry represents 6.4 % of Quebec’s total tourism GDP. The analysis also shows that the ski industry generates total annual expenditures of more than $833 million and approximately $137 million in tax revenues for both the Provincial and Federal Government. As for 12 000 direct jobs, that is to say, the full-time equivalent jobs maintained or created, they represent a yearly payroll of $367 million.
A major impact on Quebec’s economy
The CEO of ASSQ, Yves Juneau, insists that skiing represents a top-priority tourism product for Quebec’s economy. “Without ski areas, tourism activities would be significantly reduced during the winter. With nearly 20% of the clientele coming from Ontario, the United States and abroad, destination skiers and snowboarders contribute new dollars to the Quebec economy, which is a significant gain for the province’s regions,” he says.
The report also states that for every dollar spent by American skiers on the purchase of a ski ticket, the same visitor contributes an additional $ 7 to Quebec’s economy. In comparison, Quebec-based snow lovers generate $ 3.75 in incremental spending. These extra dollars are spent in retail businesses such as restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, convenience stores, and shops.
Significant benefits for municipalities
Archambault also notes that the first actors to reap the benefits of this winter sport are municipalities that have ski areas located within their boundaries. “On its own, the ski industry has contributed to an annual growth of around 15% to 20% of the property value for many municipalities in Quebec over the last decade,” he says. “Examples like Mont-Tremblant, Bromont, Stoneham, Val-Saint-Come, and Sutton reflect the economic contribution of ski resorts for these communities,” he adds.
Let’s love winter
ASSQ’s Chairman of the Board of Directors of the ASSQ, Daniel Rochon, who is also Vice-President and General Manager of Mont-Sainte-Anne and Stoneham, stresses the importance of recognizing the skiing industry for its contribution to the regional economic development. “Our association is able to see that winter tourism is not perceived as well as summer tourism. We wish governments would recognize more its importance. Not only the ski industry is a key to maintain and grow jobs in the province, but skiing also promotes healthy habits in the population,” he says. “With 22% of the Quebec’s population that practices skiing or snowboarding and a total of 1,461,769 participants, it is clear to me that Quebec needs to further embrace the joys of winter.”