The Eastern Townships region is host to a plethora of tourist spots, ranging from the numerous heritage sites to nature parks and trails. While the tourism industry has struggled in many parts of the country, the Townships has been rather fortunate through the course of the pandemic.
“At first when it began, all the industries were shocked and stressed by the sudden pandemic,” said Lysantre Michaud Verreault, public relations coordinator for Tourism Eastern Townships. “However, the summer of 2020 saw a lot of visitors coming into the region.” Naturally, due to the border closures and travel restrictions imposed during the period, the visitors that made their way into the region were mostly from Quebec, often from more densely populated areas of the province, like Montreal. Although the number of tourists who came to the area was smaller in 2020, the summer of 2021 marked a change in the once negative tourism industry. “Last summer, we got almost the same amount of traffic that we did in 2019,” said Verreault, adding, “even though we didn’t receive many visitors from the U.S or outside the province, that is.”
Surprisingly, the lack of out-of-province visitors hasn’t changed the dynamic of the industry. “Despite what we would usually think, around 95 per cent of visitors to the region are from Quebec,” explained Verreault. The other five percent of visitors are usually Americans who cross the border or Canadians from other provinces. Having only 5 per cent of visitors come from outside the province has certainly aided the tourism industry’s resiliency throughout the pandemic, allowing for a somewhat stable flow of traffic compared to areas that rely on foreign tourists.
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