The Case of Parc Safari in the Province of Quebec
Founded in 1972, the Parc Safari is a theme park based on the experience of the African safari. It is located 65 km south of Montreal, a few kilometres from the border with the USA. The main attraction is the Safari Adventure, a drive-through circuit where the visitors can admire wild animals in semi-freedom. It also has more conventional zoological facilities to observe animals in captivity. The park is complemented by a swimming area and some rides. This theme park is privately owned and relies mainly on regional clientele. It employs 300 people on a seasonal basis and 30 on a yearly basis.
The park has an attendance, on average, of 300,000 visitors per year with the majority (68%), from the immediate vicinity, less than 2 h by car to the park. Only 10% of them spend a night or more in the region. The majority of customers who go to the Parc Safari are from Montreal and its two suburban areas. It is a destination of excursionists: 85% of them spend more than 4 hours at the park and come back home. Moreover, only 8% of customers of Parc Safari state that they have stopped at another tourist attraction as part of their visit.
The Parc Safari is active in the packaging of tourism activities. It has agreements with seven campsites nearby and with 12 hotels located between the park and the south shore of Montreal. In addition to these relationships with hoteliers, the leaders of the Parc Safari are involved in the various destination management organizations in their region, such as Tourisme Monteregie and St-Jean Tourism and Tourism Valleyfield. It is also the origin of initiatives to promote local farmers. This has evolved into different gourmet tours of the area and the Circuit du Paysan, of which the park is still a member. However, despite these efforts to promote tourism development of the region, Parc Safari has failed to generate the business cluster usually associated with the presence of a theme park. No hotel, stores or restaurant have sprouted in close vicinity to the park.