On April 19, business owners and interested parties attended a “Mayor’s Breakfast” to learn more about Le Boat and to consider strategies that will help them capitalize on “Le Boaters” when they arrive in 2018. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee of Council, chaired by Councillor Gerald Schwinghamer, agreed to be the lead on Le Boat coordination. I will be hosting another “Mayor’s Breakfast” on June 14th to again bring Westport business owners together to discuss important issues including opportunities for them in 2018 when Le Boat arrives. The Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee has planned an interesting agenda and businesses will receive more information in early June.
The below media release from Leeds & Grenville today is important for two reasons. ALL of the paperwork and agreements have been signed AND the unexpected move by Le Boat to move its North American headquarters from Florida to Smiths Falls. This is great news!
Here is the media release:
LE BOAT SIGNS LEASE FOR FIRST NORTH AMERICAN BASE IN CANADA
European boating operator moves N.A. headquarters to Smiths Falls, Ontario
TORONTO – May 12, 2017 – Le Boat, Europe’s largest operator of self-drive boating vacations, has officially signed the lease for its first North American base of operations in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Scheduled to open on Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal in 2018, the European boating company is also moving its North American headquarters from Clearwater, Florida, to the picturesque province.
The $16 million investment in the “Heart of the Rideau Canal” is expected to attract thousands of vacationers of all ages from the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, and many other locations around the world. It will open with a fleet of 16 state-of-the-art Horizon cruisers offering a high level of comfort with large forward staterooms, roomy top-deck areas and, diverse amenities. According to Le Boat’s projections for the next five years, the company will expand this fleet to at least 32 cruises by the end of 2023.
“We are extremely thrilled to have officially signed the lease in Canada for our first ever North American base of operations,” said Cheryl Brown, Managing Director at Le Boat. “We have received very positive feedback from our European and U.S. customers with most them saying they would travel to Ontario for a boating holiday. With our extensive marketing initiatives and strategic partnerships, we expect to see growing global demands over the next few years for this new uniquely Canadian experience.”
Anticipated to contribute millions of dollars to the local economy through tourism, job growth, and supply chain support, Le Boat’s presence in the community is welcomed.
“I am pleased that Le Boat will operate their first ever North American operation right here in Ontario,” said Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “This new tourism experience will showcase the breathtaking beauty of the Rideau Canal to visitors from around the world, while also boosting the local economy and supporting job creation in eastern Ontario.”
Le Boat has worked closely with the Province of Ontario, Parks Canada and with the towns of Smiths Falls and Perth, along with the Leeds Grenville communities of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, Merrickville-Wolford, North Grenville, Rideau Lakes and Westport to create an exciting new boating holiday experience on the Rideau Canal.
Bookings will begin on May 15, 2017, with the boating season officially launching in May 2018 and running through October every year.
About Le Boat
Le Boat is the leading self-drive boating rental company, with more than 40 years of experience in the industry, operating its own fleet of 900 self-drive cruisers from a network of over 37 different departure bases across eight European countries. Renters can sleep on board in 5-Star comfort and style, saving substantially on hotel costs. All boats feature fully equipped kitchens, comfortable furnishings, showers and bathrooms, and warm air heating. They also feature air-conditioning, depending on the model. No experience or boating license is necessary. Instructions and an orientation are provided to first-time renters, ensuring they get the most out of their boating vacation. Unlike conventional cruises that follow a pre-planned itinerary, Le Boat provides guests with suggested itineraries but allows them to visit the towns and attractions that most interest them on a particular route. For more information, call toll-free at 1-800-734-5491 or visit www.leboat.com.