MONTREAL - Visitors flocked to Montreal in 2016, according to Tourisme Montreal's most recent report. While the numbers for 2015 were also very positive, the key performance indicators for last year point to increases in both the leisure and business travel markets.
"Montreal is generating a lot of buzz around the world. I would like to congratulate our partners for their efforts in making the city such an appealing destination. Various factors helped make 2016 a successful year for tourism, including the addition of new direct air links to Montreal, promotional activities in the business meetings market, favourable economic conditions and the fact that we have an outstanding overall product," said Yves Lalumiere, President and CEO of Tourisme Montreal.
Montreal welcomed 10.2 million tourists in 2016, which is 3.5% more than in 2015. Tourist spending also increased by 5.8% to reach $3.3 billion.
The number of overseas travellers entering Quebec borders rose by 12.9%. More specifically, there was a 14% increase in German visitors, an 8.4% increase in British visitors and a 10.4% increase in visitors from France. Meanwhile, the Chinese market spiked by 104.7%. Compared to the same period in the previous year, international tourist traffic jumped 17.8% in July, August and September.
Some 16,583,625 passengers came through Montreal-Trudeau Airport last year, marking a 6.9% increase over 2015. French travellers accounted for 49% of overseas passengers.
Tourisme Montreal is predicting a significant increase in the number of Mexican tourists coming to the city. In December 2016 alone, the number of travellers from Mexico entering Quebec surged by 98.7% compared to December 2015. Several factors are behind this growth, including the cancellation of visa requirements for Mexican nationals, promising economic projections and a stable employment rate. By way of comparison, Mexicans ranked third among overseas travellers coming to Quebec prior to the imposition of visa requirements in 2009. In 2010, after the visa requirement was introduced, Mexico fell to ninth place behind Germany, China, Italy and Switzerland.
Meanwhile, American tourists continued to visit Montreal in large numbers with a 9.5% increase in 2016. This growth was particularly pronounced in the first quarter - during the coldest months of the year - reaching a 30.6% upturn over the same period from the year prior. In total, travellers arriving by car increased by 9% in 2015.
According to statistics from the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal, hotels in the Greater Montreal Area enjoyed a 74.3% average occupation rate in 2016, which represents a 1.3% increase over the previous year. The average room rate increased by 7% and reached $167.73, while accommodation revenues rose by 7.8% compared to 2015.
Business travel also contributed significantly to Montreal's tourism success. The city hosted more than 250 major conferences and events, including the World Congress of the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering and the annual meeting of the American Counseling Association.
"The prospects are promising for 2017, when Montreal will be celebrating its 375th anniversary. We will be launching unique promotional campaigns to attract even more tourists from emerging markets, such as China and Mexico," said Yves Lalumiere.