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PEOPLE Daniel Gauthier The visionary behind Cirque du Soleil has a new venture


Every now and then along comes a game changer in the tourism industry – an initiative that re-shapes the way we think and injects a new dynamic that influences product development or investment for a decade or more. Game changing projects generally have their beginnings in a fusion of creative ideas facilitated by individuals with a willingness to experiment and a desire to be different.


In 1984 Cirque du Soleil was one of those brave, important, game changers. The company was founded in the small community of Baie-Saint-Paul, 80km east of Quebec City on the St Lawrence River, by a group of avant-garde, self-confessed dreamers and creatives. Today, Cirque owns 20 different shows which are performed in 270 cities on every continent, generating revenues exceeding US$810m pa, and employing more than 4,000 people. Individuals who strive to make a


difference and thrive on innovation tend not to be content with making one seismic shift; they are impatient to achieve more, Such is the case with the co-founder of


36 LEISURE HANDBOOK 2014


Cirque du Soleil and its president for 11 years, Daniel Gauthier, OC. Gauthier, a self proclaimed “too young to quit ski bum” is developing a new business concept which has reawakened the leisure industry: Le Massif de Charlevoix. For the execution of this vision he has returned to his spiritual home and the mountain overlooking Baie-Saint-Paul where the Cirque du Soleil story began. “It’s a place which has been Canada’s hidden secret for too long,” says Gauthier. This is another transformational Gauthier concept that will elevate market expectations. It will cause a shift in the way tourism projects are developed and it will challenge the traditional definition of ‘integrated destination development’. Le Massif de Charlevoix is a destination that – according to Gauthier – “will offer a panoply of experiences that will unfurl over three environments: the Mountain, La Ferme and Le Train Touristique.”


THE CONCEPT


Gauthier, holder of Officer of the Order of Canada (one of the highest honours in Canada), presides over his hand- picked team with individual pedigrees as impressive as his own. This is a collective of exceptionally experienced property, financial and specialist operational talent that have taken Gauthier’s vision and delivered a remarkable new approach to a


Gauthier’s new passion is Le Massif de Charlevoix http://www.lemassif.com


21st century experience.


Le Massif embodies the principles of sustainable development. Rooted in its community – indeed fuelled by and co-created with, the local community and regional tourism industry – this project was “born of a desire to share with a curious and adventurous clientele, who are sensitive to the importance of the wellbeing of the planet, an authentic project defined as being a place for pleasure, learning and discovery,” says Gauthier. There’s no doubt about the quality of


the ‘terroir’, or place. This destination is the meeting place of cultures and artists, it has a micro-climate and a good range of locally-produced products. It’s also close to the major centres of population in eastern Canada and accessible to the US and international markets: “It’s a great place to be creative, to make money, to grow the local economy, to help internationalise Quebec and to be different,” says Gauthier. In 2000, the local community set about


www.leisurehandbook.com


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