Weakened loonie hurting winter travel plans for Canadians

TORONTO - Maureen Dennis and her family had high hopes of heading abroad for March Break, but the weakened Canadian dollar has put plans for a sun-soaked getaway on ice.

See Full Article

"We were just hoping to go somewhere warm.... But everywhere that is warm has been affected by the dollar," said Dennis, founder of WeeWelcome.ca.

"It's an expensive time to go away," added the Toronto-based parenting expert, whose four children range in age from four to 12.

"It is a time that a lot of parents try to make the most of, but it is extra painful when you put the exchange rate on the dollar."

Canadian families and snowbirds who typically flock south during the winter are finding their wings clipped due to the falling loonie.

The Canadian dollar is currently hovering in the 72 cents US range, but has traded at nearly 13-year lows in recent weeks due to several factors, including the diminishing value of major commodities and slow economic growth.

Paul Phipps, chief marketing officer with Visit Florida, said the state saw a slight slowdown in Canadian travel last year, down about 1.5 per cent. But with estimates showing more than 700,000 Canadians own homes in Florida, he expects many will still make the trip while being more mindful of their spending habits.

"They may come here and not stay as long, or they'll come here and eat in more and not eat out. It may affect their shopping decisions," said Phipps, who said Canadians are the top international travellers in every region of the state.

Viji Bahadur and her family will be spending March Break in Miami with relatives. But their travel plans almost took a U-turn when flights from Toronto proved to be too steep. Instead of driving, they plan to save by flying out of Buffalo, N.Y.

"It's already high enough during March Break. But then when you factor in the exchange it's even worse," said the mother of two, who also maintains a bank account with U.S. funds.

Melissa Vroon, founding partner of FamilyFunCanada.com, said a friend going to Hawaii plans to purchase discounted attraction passes at her local Costco ahead of time.

"Other people are looking at other destinations where the Canadian dollar still has a bit of pull, looking at Mexico or Costa Rica rather than U.S. holidays," said the mother of two.

Vroon plans to take advantage of a hotel sale in Mexico and travel on accumulated airline points with her family.

Dennis said she and her family hope to ski during March Break, and may look into resorts in Ontario or Quebec's Mont-Tremblant. But if those options are off the table due to lack of snow, they'll consider activities within the city.

Canadian tourist destinations could indeed see a surge among homegrown visitors.

There has already been a noticeable uptick at Whistler Blackcomb Resort, which is on track to have a record number of visits, according to its parent company's latest financial report.

David Wilcox of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. (TSX:WB) said they're seeing growth among foreign and domestic travellers from outside the area, including Canadians who are more likely stay home due to the currency.

Myrtle Beach, S.C., has launched a campaign where select hotels, live entertainment venues, attractions and restaurants are offering significant discounts to Canadians through the month of April.

"We asked the businesses if they could do something that would approach or approximate taking the Canadian dollar on par that would be ideal.... But interestingly enough, some businesses went above and beyond that discount," said Brad Dean, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.

Dean said the coastal city expects to welcome more than a million Canadians this year, and wanted to take measures to encourage them to visit and "be able to stretch that money just a little bit further."

"It wasn't that long ago that we were in the midst of the recession. And while it wasn't our exchange rate that was causing the economic pain, we've certainly felt that in our tourism economy.

"It certainly will stretch the businesses a bit to do this," he added, in reference to the discounts.

"But let's face it: Tourism is good business for Myrtle Beach ... and Canadians are a huge part of that."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Air Canada expanding codeshares for 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL - Air Canada (TSX:AC) and Air China Ltd. say they will be expanding their mutual codeshare services in time for the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism. Air China will place its code on Air Canada's new daily Montreal-Shanghai flight, as well as Air Canada's flights from Vancouver to Victoria, Kelowna, Saskatoon and Regina. Source
  • Canadian cellular prices declining, mainly for talk and text, report finds

    Economic CBC News
    Prices for cellphone service in Canada came down in the last year, but only if you don't use your cellphone very much. That's one of the major takeaways from a new report looking at telecom services and how they stack up with the rest of the world, and compared to what they used to be. Source
  • TransCanada clashes with pipeline opponents at Nebraska hearing

    Economic CBC News
    Opponents of TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline argued on Tuesday that regulators in Nebraska had no authority to approve the line's "alternative" path through the state and that the project should be considered dead. Source
  • Hydropothecary cannabis expansion plans to put it among top producers in Canada

    Economic CTV News
    GATINEAU, Que. -- Shares of Hydropothecary Corp. were up nearly 18 per cent after the licensed medical cannabis producer announced plans that will see it further grow its operations in Quebec. The company (TSXV:THCX) says it has acquired property adjacent to its existing facility in Gatineau, Que. Source
  • Desjardins, provincial credit unions and Cumis partnering to create Aviso Wealth

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Quebec credit union Desjardins Group is partnering with five credit union centrals across the country and insurer Cumis Group Ltd. to form Aviso Wealth, with over $55 billion in combined client assets. The new wealth management company will bring together the businesses of their subsidiaries, Credential Financial Inc. Source
  • PepsiCo makes biggest public pre-order of Tesla Semis: 100 trucks

    Economic CBC News
    PepsiCo Inc. has reserved 100 of Tesla Inc.'s new electric Semi trucks, the largest known order of the big rig, as the maker of Mountain Dew soda and Doritos chips seeks to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions, a company executive said on Tuesday. Source
  • MTY Food Group signs deal to buy Imvescor Restaurant Group for $248 million

    Economic CBC News
    MTY Food Group Inc. is growing beyond the shopping mall food court with a $248-million stock-and-cash deal to buy Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. and its full-service restaurant and grocery products businesses. The friendly deal will bring together such MTY banners as Thai Express, Vanellis and Manchu Wok with Imvescor's Baton Rouge, Pizza Delight and Scores restaurants to create a company with a portfolio of over 5,700 stores under 75 brands. Source
  • Iceland closes gender gap but violence against women remains

    Economic CTV News
    REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- For nine years in a row, the World Economic Forum has ranked Iceland as having the world's smallest gender-equality gap, and for about as long gender studies professor Gyda Margret Petursdottir has been asked how the Nordic island nation became such a paradise for women. Source
  • Lyft ride-hailing app arrives in Toronto, marking its first expansion outside U.S.

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ride-hailing service Lyft will be available in Toronto starting today. Torontonians can download the Lyft app to being ordering rides in the city. The company's arrival in Toronto marks the first time it has expanded outside the US. Source
  • Bombardier signs deal to sell Aventra trains in U.K.

    Economic CTV News
    BERLIN - Bombardier Transportation (TSX:BBD.B) has signed a deal to supply 333 new rail cars, along with a contract for maintenance work, with a U.K. rail company. Corelink Rail Infrastructure and West Midlands Trains will receive 333 new Bombardier Aventra vehicles for use on the United Kingdom's West Midlands Trains franchise. Source