2.5 Regional Tourism and the Strategic Position of the Site

At the heart of the “La Lièvre et la Petite-Nation” tourist region, tourism – especially upscale resort tourism and, thanks to the presence of Château Montebello, business and convention tourism – is the second most important economic activity after the forest industry.

Following the example of the Château Montebello, the region projects the image of a destination where people can enjoy nature and relax, in addition to enjoying a variety of outdoor activities. Two types of tourist services are offered: the first in the immediate area around Montebello, where high-end accommodations and restaurants designed for wealthier tourists are found, and the second in La Petite-Nation backcountry, where a more diverse range of nature-related activities are offered (campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, etc.).

The tourist profile of the La Petite-Nation region differs from that of the Outaouais region in general; it attracts a higher percentage of resort vacationers and clientele for luxury business accommodations, undoubtedly because of the presence of Château Montebello, which receives some 80,000 overnight visitors annually. There is therefore not an “integration” of the La Petite-Nation tourist clientele within the tourist population of the larger Outaouais region.

Montebello enjoys an excellent reputation; the stature of the renowned Château Montebello resort hotel combined with the tourist information centre (set up several years ago) has earned Montebello the name “Gateway to the Outaouais”, particularly for the Montréal tourist market. The tourist information bureau is operated by the Outaouais Regional Tourism Association and receives some 50,000 visitors annually.

The Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada has established itself as the only noteworthy cultural and heritage site in the “La Lièvre et la Petite-Nation” region and has no competing sites in its niche. Together with the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau and the Mackenzie-King Estate, the Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada constitutes one of the chief heritage assets of the Outaouais region.

A tour of the grounds and the on-site interpretation activities offer a meaningful experience worthy of a half-day stop for tourists; an added visit to a nearby natural attraction would occupy an entire day of a visitor's program. The Manoir Papineau National Historic Site of Canada, Château Montebello and Montebello Station together form a major tourist attraction “trio” at the gateway to the Outaouais region.

As in many other regions, the tourist trade has been identified as one of the area's economic driving forces that merit special attention. The region would like to attract more destination tourists by expanding the range of tourist products and services available and by giving the La Petite-Nation region a corporate image. A number of organizations have taken a keen interest in the development of regional tourism, including:

  • the Municipalité régionale de comté (MRC) de Papineau, through its development plan, with cultural tourism a primary focus;
  • the Corporation de la Gare de Montebello, one of its mandates being to organize tourist events;
  • the Outaouais Regional Tourist Association, which reviewed its tourist development plan for the Outaouais region;
  • the Local Development Centre (LDC)17, which has participated in creating tools for publicizing regional tourist information;
  • the Vallée de la Petite-Nation Chamber of Commerce, which is working on creating a regional co-operation and development tool;
  • Château Montebello, leader in resort tourism in the Outaouais region;
  • the Société historique Louis-Joseph-Papineau, which manages the funeral chapel and works toward the conservation and presentation of regional heritage.

The present situation appears conducive to creating a regional co-operative approach to the development of tourism in La Petite-Nation.

  1. Formerly, the Economic Development Board

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