Low dollar enticing travellers to visit Canada

MONTREAL - From British Columbia to Montreal, the low Canadian dollar is proving a boon to the tourism sector.

Dragged down by cheap oil and an international slump in commodity prices, the dollar is trading at around 70 cents against the greenback and enticing Americans to travel north of the border.

See Full Article

"We're getting more reservations at the last minute from Americans planning trips for the weekend," says Eve Pare, head of the Hotel Association of Greater Montreal.

Montreal-area hotels in December made more than $40 million, up more than nine per cent from a year earlier, Pare noted.

The city's tourism bureau said last summer's season - between June and August - saw a 10 per cent increase year over year in the number of American tourists crossing the border into Quebec.

For Katie, 20, a McGill University student from New York State, the low Canadian dollar means her tuition is "basically nothing."

On a mini-vacation with her friend Jack, 21, also from New York, the two said they were spending more than they regularly would on eating out.

"I've been taking advantage already," says Jack, standing on a corner in Old Montreal. "We're going out to nicer dinners than normally because it means you can take off 40 per cent from the bill."

Around the corner at the Jacques Cartier Square, Adriana Carvalho, 43, from Brazil, said she and her partner had been planning on visiting the United States but changed their minds at the last minute to take advantage of the dollar.

The Brazilian real is trading at 24 cents US while it's at about 34 cents in Canada.

But Carvalho said the dollar wasn't the only reason they made the trip to Montreal.

"You guys have things here we can't get in the U.S. like furs," she said. "And we love skiing."

Alexander Kiorpelidis, who owns a Montreal souvenir shop, estimates he's had about a 15 per cent increase in the number of American tourists over the past six months, even though they aren't necessarily buying more of his wares.

"(This) year we're expecting a big jump he said," referring to the upcoming high tourist season in July and August.

"I would like to see 25 per cent increase in sales," he said.

Ellen Graham, 25, walking down the old district's cobblestone streets, said she is about to marry her fiance, Lance Lynch, 30, who travelled from Florida to be interviewed by U.S. immigration officials.

"I came up to meet her at the consulate and we made a vacation out of it," he said. "Everything is virtually 30 per cent off here, which is huge."

In British Columbia, a spokeswoman for Tourism Whistler, which tracks overnight room stays at the cluster of resorts north of Vancouver, said November and December 2015 were the busiest for those months on record and that the low Canadian dollar has been a "huge incentive" for American visitors.

"The mood is really positive," said Patricia Westerholm, adding that snow conditions have also been fantastic. "That energy and the vibe is really palpable in the resort."

She said the organization doesn't track commerce overall, but that anecdotally businesses are seeing "significant increases" in guests.

"A lot of businesses are making sure that they're highlighting the difference with the U.S. dollar," she said. "So they might be posting items in their store that have a Canadian price and then the U.S. price, just to make that visual for the guests."

Joey Gibbons, owner and president of "Gibbons Whistler," which own five bars, a brewery and a distillery, said more Canadians are hitting the resort.

"Canadians will compare the loonie to the American dollar every day," he said. "So Canadians are coming up to Whistler instead of kicking off to Hawaii.

"When the Americans get here and realize the discount and that their economy is strong, then they are buying champagne and nice wines."

Gibbons said the combination of the low dollar and excellent snow conditions has given them a bumper season.

"We've had the perfect storm, we couldn't ask for a better circumstance for our resorts for the last two months"

-----

With files from Tamsyn Burgmann in Vancouver



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Ivanka Trump shoes factory has long hours, low pay and abuse

    Economic CTV News
    GANZHOU, China -- A worker with blood dripping from his head marked a low point in the tense, grinding life at a southeastern China factory used by Ivanka Trump and other fashion brands. An angry manager had hit him with the sharp end of a high-heeled shoe. Source
  • Facebook hits 2 billion users, doubling in size since 2012

    Economic CBC News
    Facebook Inc. said on Tuesday that 2 billion people are regularly using its flagship service, marching past another milestone in its growth from a college curiosity in the United States to the world's largest social media network. Source
  • Royal Bank to repay investors $21.8M for mistakenly charged investment fees

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - The Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY) has agreed to a deal with Ontario's securities watchdog to repay $21.8 million to clients who were mistakenly charged some investment fees. The Ontario Securities Commission approved Tuesday the no-contest settlement agreement with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Source
  • Royal Bank to pay back $22M in investment fees it overcharged

    Economic CBC News
    The Ontario Securities Commission says the settlement comes after a compliance review in 2015 found the bank had overcharged some of its customers 'excess fees,' for their investments. (Mark Blinch/Reuters) The Royal Bank of Canada will pay almost $22 million in compensation to clients who were charged excess fees on some mutual funds and investments products. Source
  • Ransomware is infecting computers all across Europe in another major attack

    Economic CBC News
    A major ransomware attack on Tuesday hit computers at Russia's biggest oil company, the country's banks, Ukraine's international airport as well as global shipping firm A.P. Moller-Maersk. Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Group IB said hackers had exploited code developed by the U.S. Source
  • World's first ATM turns to gold on 50th birthday

    Economic CBC News
    Five decades since it heralded a transformation in the way people obtained and used cash, the world's first ATM was turned into gold for celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary. The brainchild of Scottish inventor John Shepherd-Barron, the first ATM (automated teller machine) was opened on June 27, 1967 at a branch of Barclays bank in Enfield, north London, the first of six cash dispensers commissioned by the bank. Source
  • Bring the brew to you: Beer Store launches home delivery in Ottawa, Scarborough

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - The Beer Store is now offering home delivery in two Ontario communities. Customers in Ottawa and the Toronto suburb of Scarborough can now place an order online and have their purchases delivered within two hours. Source
  • Uber makes it easier to arrange trips for other riders

    Economic CTV News
    SAN FRANCISCO -- Uber's ride-hailing app is making it easier for its users to set up trips for seniors and others who may not know their way around a smartphone but still need help getting around town. Source
  • No security risks in Chinese takeover of Canadian satellite firm: Trudeau

    Economic CBC News
    ?Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making his strongest defence yet of his government's decision to allow a Chinese telecom giant to take over a Canadian satellite technology company. Trudeau says an initial government review of the takeover, required under federal law, unearthed no significant national security risk and didn't require any further reviews, allowing the deal to be allowed to proceed. Source
  • 'Trump' dumped: Toronto condo and hotel tower to ditch Trump name

    Economic CBC News
    The new owners of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto have reached a deal that will see the Trump name removed from the property. JCF Capital says it has reached an agreement with Trump Hotels to buy out the management contracts for the property for an undisclosed amount. Source