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Record-breaking year at Kingston museums and attractions, say tourism officials

The end of tourism season is near and officials in Kingston say they've seen an increase of visitors at local museums and attractions.

For years, the Labour Day weekend has signaled the end of the tourism season. And even though official numbers aren’t in yet and probably won’t be for weeks, tourism officials in Kingston say attendance at local museums and attractions are up.

In fact, Canada’s Penitentiary Museum located on King Street will shatter a record when it closes its doors later this year.

“We’re hitting about 54,000 since May 1 in the four months so it’s exceeding our annual record which was last year, around that same number, so a couple months to go,” said museum curator Dave St. Onge.

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St. Onge added there are a number of factors that have led to the extra foot traffic including the Kingston Penitentiary tours.

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“We’re attributing it largely to spin off from the K.P. tours which have been a huge success, just like they were last year. Also, we’re a hop on, hop off point for the tour trolley; we’ve had a rainy summer which tends to drive people indoors; the currency exchange with the U.S. dollar. There’s a lot of factors — our own marketing and our wonderful team here that attracts people,” said St. Onge.

And while some people consider the Labour Day weekend the end of tourism season, others don’t agree.

“What we’re going to notice now as we get into Labour Day and the kids start going back to school, a lot more Europeans will be showing up. We have people from France, Germany and Spain and that’s because their vacations are different over there,” said Chris Whyman, the Tourism Kingston visitor services manager.

The tourism numbers in Kingston won’t be released until sometime in the fall, but officials are confident the numbers will be up across the board.

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