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Returning festivals could spell recovery for Kingston tourism

Kingston city council has approved a staff report declaring three festivals and the Public Market behind city hall as municipally significant. The declaration enables festivals to apply for a permit to serve alcohol.

It’s also a signal that the 2022 summer may look a lot more summers past — prior to the pandemic.

The Downtown Kingston BIA says all their events will be operating on a pre-pandemic scale and the popular Buskers Rendezvous will be returning after a two year hiatus.

“All of our big events are back buskers included,” said Sandi Griffiths the business improvement associations events coordinator.  “We’ll do a full blues festival, we’ve got some Princess Street Promenades lots of music.”

Kingston Destination Group operates cruises through the 1000 Islands, tour trolleys in the city and has store on Ontario street. Hugh Mackenzie the general manager of Kingston Destination Group says it is seeing a rebound in demand for their cruises.

“We are finding that the demand is phenomenal, our advanced reservations are well ahead of even 2019,” said Mackenzie.

A welcome change for the tourism operator after two years of unpredictability, lock downs and operating with reduced passenger capacity.

“Millions and millions of dollars of revenue that we will never recoup,” said Mackenzie reflecting on the last two summers.

Mackenzie says the business just learned that fireworks are returning for the May Long weekend.

“So great now we’ll put on a cruise for the fireworks cruise on the Island Queen on the Saturday of the long weekend,” said Mackenzie.

Griffith says the Downtown Kingston BIA is cautiously optimistic that this summer could be the start of a turnaround for tourism in the city.

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