Montreal tourism spending up 10% in 2017

Despite some poor weather at the start of the summer, tourist spending in Montreal is up 10 per cent in this 375th anniversary year, Tourism Montreal says.

Favourable exchange rate, boost in marketing, along with anniversary among reasons given for increase

Fireworks explode over an illuminated Jacques Cartier Bridge in May to celebrate the city's 375th birthday. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Despite some poor weather at the start of the summer season, tourism and tourist spending are up in Montreal for its 375th anniversary year, Tourism Montreal says.

According to industry projections, tourism spending in the city will reach $3.6 billion this year — almost a 10 per cent increase over last year — and boost tax revenues to $1.45 billion.

Tourism Montreal president Yves Lalumière said the city's anniversary celebrations have done great things for his industry.

"Montreal's 375th anniversary has boosted the city's international reputation and will act as a springboard for years to come," Lalumière said.

He did note, however, that only about one-third of visitors are aware of the anniversary.   

He credits the favourable exchange rate as helping to draw more American visitors, as well as his organization's marketing efforts in countries such as China and Mexico. 

Those efforts paid off with a 32 per cent increase in tourists from China and a 119 per cent increase in tourists from Mexico. Overall, the increase in foreign tourists amounted to six per cent.

Passenger traffic was also up 11 per cent at Montreal's Pierre Trudeau International Airport in June and July.

Sweden's Felix Rosenqvist heads toward the finish line on his way to winning the pole position for the Montreal Formula ePrix electric car race Sunday, July 30. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press )

Formula E impact unclear

While Lalumière says the number of foreign tourists attending the Formula One event was up 15 per cent, he said Tourism Montreal didn't have any attendance figures for the new Formula E electric car race.

"It's a good event," he said. "We have to give it time. For us, it's a plus."

With files from Ainslie Maclellan