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‘A welcome sign,’ tourism industry anticipates boost from return of seasonal travellers

On the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal, tourists were back in droves Sunday, taking in sights and making memories as tourist season in the city commences.

“It’s great to start travelling again. I’m just, going crazy back at home,” said Raj Advani, who is visiting from California with his 13-year-old daughter for a hockey tournament.

Also making a return this weekend were cruise ships. The Ocean Explorer is one of the first to anchor at the Port of Montreal since 2020.

“We were closed for two years due to the covid. This weekend was the coming back of the cruise ships in Montreal, so we very excited,” said Port of Montreal Cruises Director, Yves Gilson.

“It’s a welcome sign,” added Gilson.

A total of 45 cruise ships are expected to dock in Montreal this spring and summer which Gilson said is “less than usual” by about 15 ships.

According to Gilson, prior to the pandemic ships would bring in about 81,000 passengers. This year, 45,000-50,000 will be arriving.

Even though it’s less than usual, the cruises director said it will give the tourism industry a much needed boost.

“We are calculating that this season it will bring around $20 million to the economy hotels, restaurants, taxi, museums, etc., etc,” said Gilson.

In downtown Montreal, tourists are appreciating the city from a different view on Grey Line’s red, double-decker busses.

Dannielle Thompson who is visiting from Atlanta for the first time, used the service to get around the city for her short trip.

“I love (Montreal). It’s really pretty here. The people are very friendly. It’s easy to get around the city. The food is really good,” said Thompson.

The seasonal busses made their debut on the roads last week for the first time in two years.

Guide Jean-Bernard Côté told Global News it’s great to be welcoming international visitors once again.

“The peak of the season will be later. June, July, August, September. But they (tourists) are coming back here,” he said.

He expects it to get even busier in the coming months, with the return of popular attractions including the Jazz Fest, F1, and Osheaga.

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