A promotional agreement unites Cirque du Soleil and Tourisme Montréal under a marquee

“We believe we can provide a great showcase for the city of Montreal locally, nationally and internationally,” said Cirque President and CEO, Stéphane Lefebvre.

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Tourisme Montréal and Cirque du Soleil have signed an agreement for the tourist organization to pay Cirque $250,000 a year to help promote Montréal. It’s a two-year deal with an option for a third party, and both sides have suggested it could easily last much longer.

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The Montreal circus has entered into a 10-year agreement with the Old Port to present a new Cirque du Soleil show each year under its big top just east of the Jacques-Cartier pier. The first show under this deal is Kooza, which opens May 12.

“We believe we can provide a great showcase for the city of Montreal at the local, national and international levels,” said Cirque CEO Stéphane Lefebvre during a press conference under the marquee on Wednesday.

“Cirque du Soleil produces shows in approximately 450 cities around the world and everywhere we go, the Cirque du Soleil show is a major tourist attraction,” Lefebvre said.

He said that a Cirque show in Quebec has an economic impact of approximately $45 million.

The Cirque du Soleil marquee in the Old Port of Montreal on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.
The Cirque du Soleil marquee in the Old Port of Montreal on Wednesday, May 4, 2022. Photo by John Kenney /Montreal Gazette

In exchange for payment, Tourisme Montreal may have promotional material under the Cirque tents for shows in Canada, and this could expand to include shows in the United States and other countries.

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“We are paying for the integration of the brands together within the marquee,” said Tourisme Montreal CEO Yves Lalumière, adding that the agency will have “access to their fanbase, which is huge. They have a customer loyalty program. They have a newsletter. Having the opportunity to tap into this clientele for us is certainly very interesting.

“When you associate yourself with a winner, you will reap the benefits. Also, making sure people understand that Cirque du Soleil is a Montreal trademark. It’s an ambassador for Montreal. I think it there are so many benefits to having the two brands integrated together.

Lefebvre said money isn’t the most important aspect of the deal.

“The visibility we can give to Tourisme Montréal means a lot to us,” said the Cirque CEO. “Tourisme Montréal also has an interesting platform to provide visibility to Cirque and raise awareness of Cirque du Soleil shows and brand in different parts of the world.

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“Quite frankly, we have sponsorship deals that are worth more than (this deal). The financial part hasn’t been the main driver for us. You could see two bodies whose missions could well complement each other and bring people back to Montreal, contribute to the revival of the cultural and artistic sectors here.

Lalumiere said he expects tourism to rebound significantly this year in Montreal.

“It was very catastrophic for the industry,” he said of the pandemic. “Right now we have a lot of conferences, so the numbers now show that we’re looking at 70% occupancy (in hotels in Montreal), where two years ago there were 20, and last year it was around 40% in our biggest month. So that’s a big increase, and honestly, it’s beyond our expectations. The intention of French and American travelers is stronger than we thought. It looks good.

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  1. Stéphane Lefebvre, left, was named CEO of Cirque du Soleil at a press conference in Montreal on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 after replacing communications specialist Daniel Lamarre who serves as executive vice president.

    Cirque du Soleil chooses finance veteran as president and CEO

  2. Cirque du Soleil President and CEO Daniel Lamarre, center, joins the cast and members of the creative team on stage for a photo after a preview of the revival of their classic show Alegria in Montreal l last year.

    Cirque du Soleil expects to take off again by 2022

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