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Summer tourism returning to pre-pandemic success in Muskoka

As the summer nears its end, tourism-related sectors are placing high hopes on its success just one year since the final COVID restrictions were lifted.

In Muskoka, residents and visitors alike are seizing the opportunity to make the most of this post-pandemic summer.

From resorts to cruise ships, the tourism industry in places like Gravenhurst is relishing the newfound freedom.

"The Seguin had to be down for three years during the COVID pandemic, so this year we've brought in a new chief engineer who's got it up and running - sailing again - after a three-year hiatus, and we could be happier to have it back on the water," said Jordan Waines with Muskoka Steamships.

An estimated 40,000 passengers typically journey on the two ships in Gravenhurst each summer, with sailings continuing until the Thanksgiving long weekend.

Bracebridge's Santa's Village is also experiencing a resurgence in visitor numbers, with nearly 100,000 people expected to visit this summer.

"Back to normal again is the word of the day," noted Jamie Hopkins, Santa's Village general manager.

Ann Marie Tapley, owner of Muskoka Honey Bee Products in Dwight, attested to the increased footfall of tourists, especially from other countries.

"A lot of people are back at cottages that have been kind of half the time now they are back full time," she said.

Some businesses and resorts hope to prolong the season as much as possible.

Santa's Village, for instance, plans to extend its operations into the fall with a Halloween program running until the end of October. Additionally, a Santafest program is set to captivate visitors until the close of December. Top Stories

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