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  • Drop in tourism to Montreal blamed on student protests, weak European economy

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    Published 12/17/2012 17:46:35

    MONTREAL - Montreal's tourism industry experienced a slowdown in 2012 after solid growth the previous year, said the city's official tourism marketer, blaming difficult economic conditions in Europe as well as student protests in the city last summer.

    Also a factor was the drop in business meetings held in Montreal this year, said Tourism Montreal.

    Hotel room rates fell marginally, by 0.5 per cent, to $138.84 on average compared with 2011. Hotel occupancy rates also declined slightly.

    Declines were felt across various tourist sectors despite promotional efforts to boost the industry, said Tourism Montreal CEO Charles Lapointe.

    He said the outlook for business tourism next year is positive, with several conventions booked for the city.

    Pierre Bellerose, vice-president of Tourism Montreal, said scenes of student protesters that were played "in a loop" on CNN had a short-term impact, causing many people in May and June to cancel trips to the city.

    "When you plan your vacation you don't want to go to a place where there's trouble," he said.

    There were five per cent fewer visitors for the Montreal Grand Prix in June compared with last year, Bellerose said.

    Restaurants and bars, particularly downtown and in old Montreal, were also affected by the slowdown, he said.

    For the province as a whole, a 0.4 per cent rise in the number of American tourists between January and September this year was offset by a 2.4 per cent drop in visitors from other countries, resulting in an overall 0.6 per cent decline in international tourist arrivals.

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