From blazing heat to downpours, the weather has been less than consistent. And gas prices are consistently above a dollar and change.
But none of these things seem to have affected tourism here this summer, according to Ottawa Tourism, which calls the outlook for the 2007 tourism season “good.”
“I’m confident this year will be a great year,” Jantine Van Kregten of Ottawa Tourism said. “Events and celebrations have really been a draw and we’ve really been able to raise profile this year.”
Although events like the Ottawa Tulip Festival and Canada Day always prove to be good tourist draws annually, this summer features several one-time events that are bringing more visitors to town, including the FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 175th anniversary of the Rideau Canal, Van Kregten said.
“Every year has its charms and attractions that attract a certain population,” said Van Kregten. “I say, this year, we had more types of those one-off attractions. Unlike Bluesfest, which happens every year, those aren’t events we celebrate every year.”
FIFA games, especially, have been a bonanza for the capital.
“FIFA surprised a lot of people,” said Van Kregten. “Even the organizers were quoted as saying it surpassed their wildest expectations.”
This summer, the capital is also playing host to several exclusive events that cater to specific interests. For example, the National Gallery of Canada is the only Canadian venue for the Renoir exhibit and the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau is the only place outside of Bejing to see the Treasures from China.
While 85 per cent of Ottawa’s tourists are Canadian, the city’s main market is Toronto and Montreal residents, said Van Kregten. But where tourists come from depends on the event held, Van Kregten said.
Ottawa receives 7.4 million visits per year. Bringing in $1.1 billion a year, tourism is the city's third-largest economic generator after the federal government and the high-tech industry.