Lower loonie discouraging Canadians from heading south
Published Thursday, August 27, 2015 12:56PM EDT
The declining dollar is causing Canadian tourists to avoid travel in the U.S., experts say.
The loonie wavered at approximately US$0.75 cents on Thursday, down from about 92 cents this time last year.
"It really is a huge difference now," Laura Freeman, a sales manager at Discover Canada Tours, told CTV Vancouver. "A warning we definitely give is 'Do the math of what your dollar is at right now. Be aware of how much you have."
According to Discover Canada, the loonie is affecting travel plans for many Canadians.
The Vancouver-based company says trips to the U.S. are at their lowest level in years, down 15 per cent since last summer.
Elsewhere in Canada, the low dollar is having similar effects.
Stephen Smith, the marketing and loyalty vice president at Toronto's Vision Travel Solutions said his company has also seen fewer Canadians booking U.S. travel this summer.
"If it's in U.S. dollars, we're seeing a decrease, definitely," Smith told CTV's News Channel on Thursday.
However, Smith said, just because Canadians aren't going to the United States, that doesn't mean they're staying home.
"There's an impact, but it's not as much as people would think," he said. "There's certainly a lot of Canadians travelling."
Instead of going to the U.S., Canadians are searching for destinations where their dollar will stretch farther, Smith said. They're also seeking ticket and tour bookings in Canadian dollars.
"As Canadians we love to travel. It's in our DNA," Smith said. "Especially with the winters we encounter."
Meanwhile, as Canadians seek cheaper getaways, the low dollar is attracting international tourists to Canada.
While many of the visitors are Americans, Smith said he's also seen an uptick in travellers from such places as Taiwan, South Korea, and Mexico.
"In general we're seeing a boom," he said.
The dollar has fallen sharply over the last year, largely in response to a drop in global oil prices. On Wednesday, it fell to its lowest levels since 2004.
With files from CTV Vancouver