Visitors to Quebec City in summer 2021 exceed tourism expectations

Click to play video: 'Tourists flock to Quebec City' Tourists flock to Quebec City
WATCH: Visitors to Quebec City in summer 2021 exceed tourism expectations – Aug 2, 2021

The two weeks of Quebec’s construction holiday, combined with a long weekend in Ontario, has meant good news for tourism operators in Quebec City.

This past week, it was the most visited city in Canada.

Read more: Hotels in Quebec to get helping hand as tourism industry hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic

“We have the highest level of hotel occupancy in Canada, of all the major cities, so it was a real pleasant surprise for us,” said Robert Mercure, general manager of the Office du tourisme de Québec.

There aren’t as many tourist buses in Old Quebec this summer as there have been in the past, but coming out of a long pandemic, the number of visitors spending their vacation here is more than what the tourism office expected.

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Hotels are between 60 and 70 per cent booked and restaurants are full.

Read more: Quebec City businesses challenged by shortage of workers

Most days, there’s a lineup to get into the popular microbrewery, Archibald in the Petit Champlain district.

“When it’s nice out like this it doesn’t matter if it’s Monday or Saturday, the terrasse is always full,” explained Caroline Marois, Archibald director general.

Most of the clientele are Quebec City and area residents, Marois said, but there is a surprisingly large number of tourists from Ontario.

“We can sense that there’s been really a pent-up demand to come visit our beautiful region,” Mercure said.

Read more: Quebec City removes famous ‘cannonball tree’

One boutique said it’s seen increased traffic the last two weeks of July when many Quebecers were on holidays.

“That gives us hope, a lot of hope,” said Sandra Dud at La Petite cabane à sucre.

Next Monday, the U.S.-Canada border will re-open, which business owners hope will mean welcoming back American tourists.

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But will things return to pre-pandemic levels? Mercure says he is “cautiously optimistic.”

“We’re preparing a series of campaigns for the Americans and the Quebec and Ontario market that’s going to continue in the off season,” Mercure said.

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