Montreal on track for banner year in tourism
Published Monday, July 31, 2017 8:11PM EDT
Montreal's reputation as a festival city is drawing impressive numbers of tourists to our city.
Tourism Montreal is estimating 11 million visitors will come to Montreal this year -- the most since 20 million flocked to the metropolis for Expo 67.
Pierre Bellerose, VP for Tourism Montreal, is delighted with the increase in foreign visitors.
"We have a good first half of the summer, good trend now, and we'll have a very good result at the end of the summer," said Bellerose.
Hotel occupancy rates are around 87 percent, and many restaurants and stores that cater to visitors are noticing an increase in sales.
"We've seen a lot of influx of tourists from Mexico," said Farooq Ali of Economax. "Europeans will start coming, a lot more Americans because the U.S. dollar's very high."
Bellerose credits Montreal's 375 birthday, new attractions, and multiple conventions, although many tourists who spoke to CTV Montreal on Monday had no idea Montreal was celebrating an anniversary.
Meanwhile Just for Laughs is celebrating its 35th with a banner year.
"I always say this one's bigger and better than ever but this time I actually think we're over-delivering on that," said Bruce Hills.
Gilbert Rozon, founder of Just for Laughs and president of Montreal 375, believes Montreal is regaining its shine after several decades of hard times.
"We had every day in July over 100,000 people in the streets so a lot of them, I would say 23-25 percent are tourists," said Rozon.
As far as he is concerned, Montreal should focus on more annual events that give people a reason to mingle.
"What's happening on the streets should be the signature of Montreal," said Rozon.