Montreal gets $12 million tourism funding to ensure major attractions survive
MONTREAL -- The Quebec government is looking to the future when international tourists are back, but in the meantime it says it wants to make sure Montreal's major attractions can survive.
Back in 2019, Montreal hit an all time record with more than 11 million tourists flocking to the city. Then, the pandemic hit and that number dropped down to 1 million in 2020.
But, with provinces reopening, namely Ontario, summer is looking up.
“There's no better time to come to Montreal ... and summer is not over until the end of October this year,” Tourism Montreal President and CEO Yves Lalumiere said with a laugh.
Tourism Montreal is projecting 2 million visitors this year and the government is looking ahead to 2022 and beyond. It's partnering with the Government of Quebec to inject more than $12 million dollars to help fund projects and installations at major attractions around downtown, the Old Port and the village.
“If they would disappear, Montreal’s attractions would lower so we wanted to make sure with Yves’ team that they would stay there,” said Caroline Proulx, Quebec’s tourism minister.
It's welcome news for Tourism Montreal.
“This is critical and is helping us to make sure that we protect what we’ve got and we gain ground in terms of getting back the visitors to our destination,” the organization’s head says.
The hope is, the minister says, for these projects to be icing on the cake for tourists looking to enjoy what Montreal has to offer once it is able to welcome international guests and when major festivals and events are back on.
Still, the tourism minister thinks the future is bright.
“I'm really optimistic for 2022-2023, really optimistic,” Proulx said.
Proulx said she expects Montreal to return to record tourism levels by 2025.