Ottawa Tourism already seeing bump in interest from Americans in midst of Biden visit


The visit of U.S. President Joe Biden to Ottawa could bring an increase in tourists coming to Canada’s capital to explore the city for themselves.

At Ottawa Tourism, director of communications Jantine Van Kregten said Biden’s visit will create huge international exposure for Ottawa. As the visit is broadcast worldwide, Van Kregten said it’s “an opportunity to remind audiences that Ottawa is Canada’s capital and that we have a proud tradition of hospitality.”

Throughout his stay, Biden is expected to visit various parts of the city and possibly have an opportunity to enjoy local food delicacies, with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum taking “centre stage” Friday evening, as Van Kregten said. 

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Tonight’s dinner will feature Canadian staples like wildflower honey, Yukon gold potatoes, East Coast yellowfin tuna and Quebec maple mousse cake, all prepared by chefs from 1 Elgin restaurant at the National Arts Centre. 

The House of Commons itself will receive exposure as the setting for Biden’s remarks to parliament. As Van Kregten explains, such spaces are publicly accessible and open to all visitors – “presidential or not” – to Ottawa, possibly inspiring viewers to take their own trip.

And it isn’t all talk and hopes – Van Kregten said the Ottawa Tourism website has seen a bump in U.S.-based visitors this month compared to the same time last year. So far, for the month of March, new users have increased by more than 70 per cent, she said.

“Of course, not all of that can be attributed to the president’s visit, but it is an encouraging sign,” Van Kregten told OBJ.

Local businesses and attractions are being featured throughout the president’s stay. Sophie Gregoire Trudeau entertained First Lady Jill Biden and introduced her to curling at the Rideau Curling Club, while the prime minister and president were on Parliament Hill. And everywhere the Bidens go, cameras will follow.

“I doubt whether the president’s visit will be the exclusive reason someone chooses to visit Ottawa in the future but — depending on what images are shared with the world — it might see some people put Ottawa on their consideration list,” said Van Kregten.

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