Montreal tourism suffering historic lows due to coronavirus pandemic

People walk through Old Montreal, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Tourisme Montréal reports that the summer of 2020 shattered a multitude of records due to a sharp drop in tourists in the city amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization says in its more than 100 years of existence, it has never seen so many historic lows — including in entries at the Quebec borders, passenger traffic at the Montreal airport, the number of tourists, their spending and hotel occupancy rates.

Yves Lalumière, president and CEO of Tourisme Montréal, says the tourism sector will take several years to recover from the health crisis.

Read more: Old Montreal tourist, souvenir shops struggling to stay afloat amid COVID-19 pandemic

In comparison with the 2019 tourist season, entries into Canada through Quebec’s borders have plummeted by 97.8 per cent. The number of passengers boarding and disembarking at Montreal’s Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau International Airport has also dropped by 94.5 per cent.

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Tourisme Montréal says the average amount of spending by international tourists fell by 95 per cent for the period of April to June, when lockdown was in effect.

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The Association of Hotels of Greater Montreal also notes that occupancy rates were only at 15 per cent for hotels in the Montreal area from June to September.

Tourisme Montréal says there could be an opportunity to overhaul tourism for the future in a way that’s more in line with Montrealers.