NEWS

Student crisis didn't scare off Montreal tourists

08/21/2012 03:28 EDT | Updated 10/21/2012 05:12 EDT
Despite the images of smashed windows, truncheon-wielding police and streets clogged by protests, visitors to Montreal weren't scared away by this spring's student crisis, data from the Quebec Tourism Ministry suggests.

Newly released figures show the occupancy rate for Montreal hotels and lodgings in June, as student protests were peaking, was up 10.7 per cent from the year before.

Just under 80 per cent of lodgings were full on any given day — higher than in any other region in the province, and just one percentage point below the highest occupancy rate in nine years for the month of June.

In fact, Montreal hotels and lodgings have been busier in every month so far this year compared with 2011 — despite the student strike that began in February.

The occupancy rate even rose, albeit slightly, in protest-heavy May.

The numbers — which combine hotels, B&Bs, hostels, inns and other commercially rented temporary accommodations — deflate claims repeatedly made in the spring that the demonstrations would deter tourists.

Montreal's festival and tourist season hits full swing in June, with the Formula One Grand Prix auto race, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Francofolies music festival, the Fringe theatre festival and the beer festival, among others. Hotel room prices peak during that month.

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