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Will Tourists Skip Montreal Due to Student Strikes?

By SHANNON KELLY

Photo: Tina Mailhot-Roberge

It’s been more than 100 days since students in Montreal started demonstrating against proposed tuition hikes, and this week things heated up as more than 500 protestors were arrested, bringing total arrests to anywhere from 1,000 to 2,500 (take your pick). How will all of this affect tourism in Canada’s second most popular tourist city, especially as festival season ramps up in June?

The executive vice-president of the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal, for one, is worried. As he told the National Post, “now that…it’s getting worldwide media attention, we’re beginning to get very concerned about the overall image of Montreal as a destination.” He also said that some of the 77 hotels within the organization are reporting cancellations and fewer bookings than would normally be expected. In April, the United States issued a security warning to U.S. travellers heading to Montreal, warning of violence and vandalism.

The vice-president of Tourisme Montréal, however, seems feel that, for the most part, tourists won’t even notice the strikes. The Montreal Gazette reported him as saying that the majority of tourists to Montreal don’t become aware of the protests until they arrive in the city and that he advises them that if they avoid the demonstrations they “will have a very good stay in Montreal.”

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