Boosted by business travel, Montreal boasts best spring tourism numbers in 20 years

Tourisme Montréal is reporting outstanding tourism rates for the spring of 2015. Economic indicators point to a substantial increase in tourism in the city during the April to June period. Montréal owes this rise in tourism to the many successful events and popular attractions on offer in the city, as well as the growing number of Americans coming to visit.

“Considering how important it is for the local economy, we are very pleased to report that the tourism industry is thriving in Montréal. The business travel sector continues to be buoyant, and the number of foreign visitors has increased. It’s great news for us as a destination and for all stakeholders in the region. I’d like to take this opportunity to commend the various industry players who helped make this growth happen,” said Yves Lalumière, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tourisme Montréal.

The business travel sector was very active this spring, confirming Montréal’s status as an increasingly popular North American business destination. The numerous conferences, business meetings and sporting events held in the city helped attract additional business visitors. From January to April 2015, the number of business travellers, from all markets combined, increased by 14 per cent over the same period in 2014, according to Tourisme Montréal’s numbers. When considering the U.S. market alone, the increase is up by 81 per cent. This spike in business travel resulted in a 48 per cent increase in hotel bookings. In addition, some 300 business meetings are held in the city every year thanks to the efforts from the sales teams at Tourisme Montréal and the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

The most recent statistics from the Hotel Association of Greater Montréal also suggest that this spring was exceptional. Hotel occupancy rates on the Island of Montréal averaged at 80 per cent, which is 2.3 per cent higher than last year. What’s more, the average room rate is up by 6.9 per cent, and accommodation revenues rose by nearly 10.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2014.

Meanwhile, Tourisme Montréal’s latest data shows that American tourists are coming to Montréal in large numbers. For the January to April 2015 period, the number of people entering the country at the Québec border increased by 4.6 per cent. This upward trend can be attributed to a confluence of factors, including a stronger American economy, a favourable exchange rate for Americans and a 30 per cent decrease in fuel costs compared to last year. Tourisme Montréal anticipates a seven per cent to 10 per cent increase in the number of American tourists visiting the city between now and the end of summer 2015.

There has also been a 4.7 per cent increase in the number of visitors from other countries coming to Québec. Total passenger traffic recorded at Montréal-Trudeau Airport rose by 4.1 per cent for the January to May period, compared to the same months in 2014. The more than six million passengers who landed at Montréal-Trudeau Airport are not only a boon to Montréal’s tourism industry, they benefit the entire industry across Québec.

Last but not least, Tourisme Montréal has noted a steady increase in the number of visitors on its digital platforms, which proves that recent marketing campaigns targeting the U.S. and French markets have been successful. Montréal Lights Up, Montréal Connects and Montréal Ignites all contributed to a 52 per cent spike in the number of visitors on Tourisme Montréal’s blog from January to June, and a nine per cent increase in visitors on their digital platforms overall. This underscores Montréal’s appeal as a tourism destination.

“The next three years look very promising for Montréal. With urban tourism on the rise and the fact that Montréal is always adding to its tourist attractions, there’s no doubt that Montréal will continue to be the gateway through which international visitors enter Québec,” added Mr. Lalumière.

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