Stakes are high to make festival season a success this summer, says a business leader
A leader in Montreal's business community says certain factors threaten to throw a wrench into this year's festival season.
Chiefly among them is a labour shortage.
"It's really hard to maintain, especially for festivals, those very highly skilled technicians that make all that magic come true for festivalgoers," said Glenn Castanheira, executive director of Downtown Montreal Merchants' Association on Saturday.
Castanheira says all hands must be on deck, especially as the city looks to bounce back from the pandemic.
He says 2019 was a record year for tourism, with over 11 million tourists. In 2022, there were 8.5 million. This year, the city is on track to surpass its pre-pandemic record by welcoming 9.5 million tourists.
"Seeing that we have the same level of occupancy in hotels, yet we have more hotels today than we had in 2019, which indicates that were having more people in our city," he said, citing the return of international tourists, who were previously kept out by covid travel restrictions.
Ensuring the influx of tourists have a good time when they arrive is paramount, says Castanheira. And he says the stakes are even higher this year because of inflation.
"We know that people are making financial sacrifices. That discretionary expense of choosing to come to downtown Montreal for their vacation and time off is something we don't take lightly," he said.
Castanheira is also encouraging Montrealers to be a tourist in their own city this summer.
"People are crossing oceans and continents to discover our city. You can cross a river and check it out for yourself."
Montreal's jam-packed schedule for summer festivals is well underway. Here is a partial list of what you can expect:
- Francos de Montreal ( June 9 to 17)
- MURAL Festival (June 8 to 18)
- St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival (May 29 to June 18)
- Formula 1 Grand Prix (June 16 to 18)
- Montreal International Jazz Festival (June 29 to July 8)
- Festival sur le Canal (June 16 to 18)
- L'International des Feux Loto-Quebec-Fireworks festival (Several dates between June 29 and August 10)
- Just for Laughs (July 14 to 29)
- Osheaga Music and Arts Festival (August 4 to 6)
- Montreal Pride (August 3 to 13)
- LASSO (August 18 to 19)
-With files from CTV's Amanda Kline