Montreal tourism bounces back from student protests, language flaps
What a difference a year makes.
Tourism has rebounded in Montreal this past summer, making up for last year's student protests and recent language issues.
Hotel rate of occupation, up from last summer. The number of American tourists, up. The number of cruise ships and business conventions, up, up, and up.
Vice president of research with Tourism Montreal Pierre Bellerose said the cruise ship industry was particularly good to them, with the Port of Montreal welcoming 50,000 international oceangoing passengers for the first time in a long time. And he added there's room to grow.
"A few years ago, it was less than 30,000. Now we're at 50,000. I think we can go to 75,000 in a few years, yes," Bellerose told CJAD 800 News.
On the downside, Montreal saw fewer European tourists, thanks partly to the economic crisis over there.
Bellerose said on the whole, it appears they've recovered from the student crisis.
"This kind of crisis, what we see, it's difficult at times but people forget rapidly," Bellerose said.
Forgetting even language flaps, from "Pastagate" to recent ones over the proposed Charter of Values, that Bellerose said netted them only a couple of emails, mostly from Ontario.
Looking ahead, Bellerose said the convention season is cruising along with several booked for this month. Their future plans include targetting the Northeastern market in the U.S. as well as in Quebec and Ontario, and niche tourism focussing on foodies and gay and lesbian visitors.
Photo: Shuyee Lee