Montreal could see record highs for tourism this summer
Published Monday, June 26, 2017 2:43PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 26, 2017 7:32PM EDT
Put on your friendly faces and get ready for questions about where the mysterious underground city is located. Montreal is about get an unusually high amount of tourists this summer.
Half a million more visitors are expected to visit the city this summer than last year, and at least part of that is due to the city’s 375th anniversary celebrations.
According to Tourism Montreal, 2017 is expected to be the busiest summer, tourism-wise, since the 1976 Olympics. Tourism Montreal President Yves Lalumiere said that while MTL 375 is helping, the number of people flocking to the city is also due to efforts in recent years to bolster the city’s tourism industry.
“The 375th is helping us not necessarily this year because people are visiting, obviously will love the city because there’s so many programs and 175 events, but really for the next few years because we have so much coverage outside Quebec,” he said. “It’s building the bridges for 2018, 2019, 2020. We know already we’re going to have good years until 2020.”
Other factors include more direct flight options between Canada and China, as well as the elimination of visitor visas for those travelling from Mexico.
The Conference Board of Canada predicts 11.5 tourists will visit Montreal in 2017.
That’s good news for hotels, which are projected to have a 90 per cent occupancy rate during the summer months.
However, not everything is rosy for summer-oriented businesses. Jack Kowalski, who operates Lachine Rapids jet skiing company Saute-Moutons, said that while tourists are always welcome, he depends heavily on locals to stay in business. So far, the summer of 2017 has been tough.
"May was a disaster because of the cold weather and all the rain. June was a little bit better but we're very weather-related. I think everybody is in the tourism business," he said. "The outdoor cafes, if it's raining every day, you don't have any business. We're all hoping for a great July and August, because really, that's the season in Canada."
The bad weather hasn't just affected outdoor activities. Joe Lastoria, owner of the Monde Mode Homme boutique in Old Montreal, said he's seen a downturn in business during the rainy spell.
"We all know, bad weather and people stay inside," he said.
However, he noted that he's seen more tourists than normal outside, and events like the lighting of the Jacques Cartier Bridge have increased foot traffic - when it's warm outside.
"It's starting to turn around. I predict a good season."