Montreal could break tourism records by end of summer

If the trend that's been established this summer continues, the city could see 11 million visitors this year, according to Tourism Montreal vice-president Pierre Bellerose.

375th anniversary celebrations, festivals and new direct flights helping numbers, says Tourism Montreal

Old Montreal has been packed this summer thanks to festivals and events related to the city's 375th anniversary celebrations. (CBC)

Montreal is on track to hit its highest number of visitors ever this summer, thanks to a thicket of festivals as well as the city's 375th anniversary celebrations and Canada's 150th birthday bash.

If the trend so far this summer continues, the city could see 11 million visitors, according to Tourism Montreal vice president Pierre Bellerose.

Bellerose says a number of new initiatives helped boost Montreal's profile, from new attractions to festival buzz.

It's also easier to get to Montreal, and that helps, Bellrose said.

People look on as giant marionettes make their way through the streets of Montreal as part of the city's 375th anniversary celebrations. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)
"We have new flights, direct flights, from China for example," he said, so there are greater numbers of Chinese tourists in Montreal.

The city's 375th anniversary celebrations have helped, too, Bellerose said. The question now is will it continue next year.

"Often after an anniversary, it's difficult to keep the trend," he said.

Just for Laughs Festival founder Gilbert Rozon said the festival sold out 42 shows. 

"I will remember this year, because something happened, something happened," he said. 

With extra tourism comes more economic spinoffs. Tourism Montreal says last year visitors spent $3 billion, and the group expects that amount to increase this year by up to six per cent.