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Quickly, we recognize the Radio-Canada vehicle. Pierre Roger challenges us from the balcony. He and his wife Charlotte are both retired and come from Quebec. They booked their room in November for two weeks. They were in a hurry: When we saw that customs were reopening, we said: “We’re booking. If it doesn’t work, we’ll cancel!”

Pierre and Charlotte Roger are happy to be back in Old Orchard Beach.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Sebastien Cloutier

So here they are again today, contemplating the ocean from the balcony of their bedroom. In mid-June, the water is cold: 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). No big deal, they’re not big swimmers.

It’s pure happiness to find what we expected: relaxation, the sound of the waves when we go to bed at night, the view… »

A quote from Charlotte Roger

Pierre talks about his childhood moments spent here: Pizza, fries, walking the Main. Charlotte would also have a lot to say: I have many, many memories with children, grandchildren, childhood memories. Even from youth, yes! That we will not tell!

Quebecers are part of the summer life ofOld Orchard for decades. Everywhere, Canadian flags rub shoulders with American flags. We come across a motel called Mont-Royal, a few French words here and there. A big drawing of poutine at the snack bar. Old Orchard Beachwith its beachside rides, is seen by many as the destination ketaine from Maine. But the city is getting better every year, said Peter. And there is the ocean…

Foot Bridge Beach in Ogunquit, Maine

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Sebastien Cloutier

An expected return

Over the past two years, many new American tourists have come to Old Orchard. Failing to go abroad, they discovered the Maine. A good thing for the local tourism industry, which is still bored of Quebecers.

Several companies do 60% of their business thanks to French Canadians. They are overjoyed to see the borders open again. »

A quote from Kim Howard, Director of the Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce

Quebecers are back on the beaches in Maine. Hoteliers are happy to find them, but prices have exploded. Report by Jean-Sébastien Cloutier.

Canadian visitors to Maine

  • 2019:
    2.3 million visitors
    $1.3 billion spent
  • 2020:
    362,000 visitors
    $213 million spent
  • 2021:
    63,600 visitors
    $32 million spent

The Kebek 3 motel in Old Orchard Beach is very popular with Quebec vacationers.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Sebastien Cloutier

more expensive holidays

Pierre and Charlotte Roger pay CA$200 per night for their room. About twenty dollars more than before, but it’s still reasonable. Until Saint-Jean-Baptiste, we are still in low season. However, those who are going to visit the Maine in July or August will take the leap. A glance at an online booking platform confirms it: even in so-called affordable motels Budget Friendlya family of four who want to spend the weekend of July 16 in Ogunquit, for example, may pay a minimum of CA$330 before taxes for each night. And that’s if there’s a spare room left. The demand for the Maine is strong.

The increase in demand is so great that many have withdrawn from online reservation sites. Call the hotels directlysuggests Ramsay Lafayette, who runs three beachfront hotels in Ogunquit. He admits his prices have gone up: Here at the Norseman, a night will cost around US$350 at the height of the season, while last year it was around $289-300 a night.

Scott Vogel, restaurant owner Crew Ogunquit

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jean-Sebastien Cloutier

Restaurants also increased their prices. It must be said that inflation has just reached 8.6% in the United States, a record in 40 years. Scott Vogel, owner of two restaurants in the center ofOgunquit, estimates that its menus cost 10 to 15% more on average this summer. Of course, you also have to calculate the exchange rate.

It’s not that we want to make up for our losses of the last two years. We just don’t have a choice with all that it costs now. Dairy products, meat, seafood… prices have explodedexplains Scott Vogel, owner of the Crew Ogunquit and of The Front Porch.

In this context, needless to say, lobster becomes a great luxury. Up to $59 a pound in a good restaurant, a Quebecer told us. As for gasoline, it is also reaching record prices in the United States. Small consolation: it remains for Canadians much less expensive than in the country (about 1.74 $ CA currently).

This price spike will certainly give many summer travelers pause. However, among those we met, all were smiling. They had regained their seaside and that was what mattered most.

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Reference-ici.radio-canada.ca

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