Record tourism in the Eastern Townships thanks to the total solar eclipse

The total eclipse in the Eastern Townships had a positive impact on tourism in the region, with the accommodation rate having reached historic levels, according to a preliminary report.

Eastern Townships Tourism reports at least 55,000 visitors from outside the region alone on April 8, according to preliminary geolocation data from a Magog company, Propulso. Of this number, more than one in five visitors slept in the region.

And among these thousands of tourists who came on the day of the eclipse, 25% came from outside Quebec, notably from Ontario and the United States.

“That’s very encouraging,” underlines Lysandre Michaud-Verreault, representation and communications director at Tourisme Cantons-de-l’Est, in a telephone interview.

“We are around 11%, in normal times, of customers who come from outside Quebec. »

By surveying 70 businesses and observation sites in the region, the organization found that Americans were particularly present in lodging and restaurants.

“They consumed, they were part of the economy during those days, that’s super interesting,” said Ms. Michaud-Verreault.

For the weekend preceding the Monday eclipse, record accommodation rates were reported: almost all hotels and lodges were full. On Monday, the occupancy rate was still at 88%, which is unheard of for the start of the week, according to the tourist organization.

The “very conservative” estimate of tourist spending linked to stays amounts to $4 million, according to this report. This does not include the fallout from visitors who spent the day there, but did not sleep in the area.

” We see that [ces touristes] had a presence in restaurants and shops, so we know that they spent, but these are not listed in tourist spending,” said Mme Michaud-Verreault.

If an eclipse does not return to the region anytime soon, Eastern Townships Tourism plans to build on this success.

“The eclipse puts the Eastern Townships on the map,” explained Lysandre Michaud-Verreault.

“The people who come have a memorable and unique experience, as is the case with the eclipse, we know that this is directly linked to a high rate of word of mouth, recommendations, as well as a return from these clienteles there. »

Mme Michaud-Verreault added that different campaigns would be launched in the coming weeks to take advantage of this notoriety.

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