Demo unrest threatens Montreal's tourist ecosystem
Published Thursday, May 24, 2012 9:08PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 11, 2012 6:04PM EDT
MONTREAL - Montreal livelihoods are being threatened by the ongoing demonstrations, which are starting to undermine the tourism industry, according to authorities.
Tourisme Montreal official Charles Lapointe told CTV Montreal that tourism has been decimated, according to the formal definition.
"In the hotel business we are lagging maybe 10 percent compared to last year for the coming days and weeks," said Lapointe.
Another pointed out that if the city has been stuck with the reputation of danger or instability for visitors, it could stick for a long time.
"If our tourism industry starts to be negatively affected, which is the image of Montreal, this isn't just a couple of moths this year, this is long term," said Bill Brown of the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal. "A domino affect could happen in this type of thing this is where we're mostly concerned."
Some of the more radical protesters have stated an intention to disrupt the local tourist economy as a way of destabilizing the state, including Jaggi Singh who expressed such aims on Twitter.
Damage to the tourist industry could hurt many of the very people who have been taking to the streets, one pub owner pointed out.
"If we slow down," said Ziggy Eichenbaum, owner of Ziggy's Pub, referring to the tourist industry, "they are not getting jobs for the summer."
He said that rather than enjoying the city's fabled nightlife, some tourists have been too scared to leave their hotel rooms.
"They looked outside their window, they saw the fires and people demonstrating and they panicked and they stayed in their room!" he said.
One festival honcho said that the unrest has become a preoccupation for their planning but that they would do all they could to overcome any challenges.
"There is nothing that we are going to let come in between the enjoyment of our shows and our fans," said Andy Nulman of the Just for Laughs Festival. "We have a docket of emergency measures this thick that we will put into effect if we need to."
Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay once again spoke out against the unrest Thursday, but this time with a bit of an ominous tone.
"If you want to make noise, make noise but don't paralyze the metro because you're paralyzing 300,000 people, don't paralyze the streets, because something is going to happen, I'm telling you it's going to be a rude awakening."