There’s No Tourism without Culture!


May 1 2024


The Conseil



Today, we are joining forces in a call for collective action. We are facing a defining moment in the history of Montréal. The challenges repeatedly raised by our festivals and events, the heartfelt pleas of the professional associations representing our artistic creators, and the recent demonstration by artists in the performing arts all bear witness to the fragility of the city’s artistic and cultural scene.

Montréal is proud to be one of the greatest cultural centres in North America, even the world. Its many events are the beating heart of the experience enjoyed by visitors and Montrealers alike, and they breathe life into our entire economy. The city’s cultural effervescence sets us apart from other cities of similar size, not just in the downtown core but in every neighborhood where it is found. Arts organizations, cultural institutions and festivals all contribute to the health of a vast network that depends on them.

Arts and culture are essential pillars of Montréal’s tourism economy and a big part of its energy and vibrancy. In 2023, 40% of the 11 million tourists who visited us chose our destination specifically for its cultural offerings. Their level of satisfaction with the city’s events and festivals scored an impressive 93%. Figures like these demonstrate the vital interdependence between culture and tourism—a relationship that is not only mutually beneficial, but crucial to Montréal’s appeal.

The organizations that we manage support and assist artists on a daily basis. We are witnesses to their unwavering commitment, and we are keenly aware of its value. The Conseil des arts de Montréal and Tourisme Montréal provide some $30 million annually to support the city’s artistic vitality. Montréal must continue to make its mark by offering a continuously renewed experience, but it can’t do it alone.

The Island of Montréal is home to some 21,000 artists, nearly half of all the artists in Québec. Fully 8% of the Montréal workforce is involved in culture, heritage and the arts, and it is these workers who forge our culture and our reputation as a cultural metropolis. It is up to us to give them hope, our confidence and our support.

Today, artists are running out of steam and our festivals are in danger of disappearing under the weight of an obsolete status quo. It’s time to explore new financing and operating models if we are to ward off, or even eliminate, recurring threats.

Once again, the years ahead will require a healthy dose of courage and creativity. Even more importantly, they will require vision and collective investment. We have to recognize that the vitality of our arts scene depends on the commitment and support of each and every player in our society.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. Governments, public and private partners, sponsors, philanthropists and citizens: we all have a role to play in responding to the challenge before us. Together, we can make Montréal an even more vibrant and sustainable cultural destination. Let’s commit to supporting the arts, our culture and our community. The future of our city is in our hands.


Yves Lalumière, President and CEO, Tourisme Montréal
Nathalie Maillé, Executive Director, Conseil des arts de Montréal