Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Canadian loonie rises, US visitors decrease

Currency Exchange at the BC | Washington border crossing. Sue Frause photo.

"The Canadian dollar shot north of U.S. parity in overnight trading toward a two-year high on upbeat economic developments in Asia and robust Intel earnings, leading analysts to believe the currency could close Wednesday above the US$1 mark."
So reports The National Post in its story, Canadian loonie trading ahead of US dollar. That has the folks in Canada's tourism industry a wee bit worried. At the annual Canada Media Marketplace held in San Francisco this week, I was one of 150 journalists and editors who met with tourism industry representatives across Canada.

Many of them admitted that the rising loonie isn't a great marketing tool to lure Americans across the 49th Parallel. So yes, they're concerned. Plus, US visitors to Canada was already on the decline.

Canada's Niagara Parks is also aware of the downturn, what with US visitors making up only 29% of the visitors in 2009 (down from a high of 65% in 2004). Read more about it in their blog.

As a frequent visitor to Vancouver and Vancouver Island, I'm not canceling any trips because of less buying power with my US dollar. In fact I'm hoping to visit other places in British Columbia and Alberta this summer.