Thursday was the busiest tourist day of the year at Ottawa International Airport as the summer tourist season begins in the capital.
According to the Ottawa International Airport Authority, 4,653 passengers departed the airport on June 2.
Air travel plummeted in 2020 and 2021, with passenger traffic only a fraction of pre-COVID levels.
Recently, more flights have been added to the airport and tourist travel is recovering. The airport says the return to the capital of events such as CANSEC, Canada’s largest defense and security trade show, is helping boost visitor numbers and is “vital to recovery.”
More establishments will open at the airport, including Starbucks.
Ottawa’s tourism industry has also seen an increase in the number of visitors to the capital.
“Spring in Ottawa has been good in terms of tourism, for relaxation, the Canadian Tulip Festival has brought a lot of people to the city, there is so much going on this weekend,” said Jantine Van Cregten, executive director of Ottawa Tourism.
“It’s a breath of fresh air, it’s nice to see people coming back to the capital.”
Corporate travel to conferences and meetings will be critical for both the travel industry and tourism in Ottawa to return to full pre-pandemic levels.
“We still have to wait for business, in-person events and meetings to resume at full capacity, which is still slowing down our recovery, but we are looking good in terms of leisure,” says Van Kregten.
The tourism industry has been hit hard during the pandemic due to travel and security restrictions. Van Kregten says: “We estimate that almost $3 billion was lost in 2020 and 2021, which is unprecedented… we are committed to improving the situation in 2022.”
Van Kregten says hotels are starting to book and summer forecasts are promising.
“We’re really open for business, we’re having a great summer and we’re here to inspire.”
Leon Harris runs Lady Dive Tours in downtown Ottawa. Business depends on tourists and already this spring sees the difference.
“We have our double-decker buses and have noticed a lot more foreign tourists,” says Harris.
“We’re seeing a lot more people going anywhere, so I think businesses are feeling a lot better and happier.”
Harris predicts a busy summer season with more visitors to the capital.
Harris says: “Based on our group bookings, we have a lot of charters booked in advance, we get a lot of bookings, so we think he will be very busy. We hope and believe that there are many left unconsidered. increased demand.