Montreal tourism officials are projecting that more than 9.5 million visitors will come to Montreal this year, which would be the most since 2019.
The number of tourists is making a big comeback following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the industry in 2020.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for over nine months since we first started booking our holiday,” Jim Moriarty, visiting from Liverpool, England, told Global News.
“We want to travel to see new places, no more lockdowns,” Tony Anton, from Pennsylvania, said.
While the number of tourists is on the rise, so, too, is the spending. Officials project $4 billion in economic spinoffs will be generated in the tourism industry this year.
“This is going to be a very strong summer in terms of the international visitor,” Yves Lalumière, the president of Tourisme Montréal, said.
Most of the tourists are expected to be Americans, making up 2.5 million visitors, followed by the French with close to 600,000.
Americans are also projected to be the biggest spenders per capita, a trend that has continued for years.
“To have U.S.A. tourists that come here because they are the best clients for our store,” Nicolaï Chevalier Vichnevski, a shop vendor selling artwork in Place Jacques-Cartier, told Global News.
Many of the tourists continue to visit the popular hot spots such as the Old Port, Old Montreal, the Mount-Royal Park and downtown, but there are also efforts to encourage visitors to see some of the other, less popular districts, such as in the Plateau and the Mile End.
Montreal is also in competition with other major North American cities to attract visitors, a challenge officials say they’re ready to meet.
“When we ask our visitors how to describe Montreal, they say effortlessly cool. So it is a very different vibe than it is in other cities,” Lalumière said.
One of the less attractive aspects of the city is the ongoing roadwork, an issue city officials say they’re working to improve.
“‘We are putting in place very different measures to reduce the effect of the roadwork,” Luc Rabouin, the Montreal executive committee member in charge of economic development, told Global News.
For now, tourism officials and business owners that rely on visitors just hope Mother Nature provides hot, dry weather, especially as the city moves toward the busiest tourism weeks of the year.
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