Canadian tourism hit as Loonie soars

Canadian tourism hit as Loonie soars

The soaring cost of the Canadian dollar is proving increasingly detrimental to the long-term health of national tourism industry, authorities have warned.

The Canadian dollar – commonly referred to as a Loonie, in reference to the insignia on its reverse – touched parity with its American counterpart earlier this week, prompting fears cost-conscious travellers may reconsider trips to Canada.

“That is of obvious concern to our industry,” explained David Goldstein, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC).

“It’s a very difficult and competitive landscape out there.”

Visits by foreigners to Canadian shores have been falling steadily since its currency began increasing in value from 2001.

In the past year alone, the Loonie has risen 24 per cent against the US dollar, with sharp rises also recorded against the euro and yen.

American Dream

Despite short-term reversals, it is the long-term decline in American visitors which is of most concern to Canadian authorities.

ADVERTISEMENT

US guests make up the majority of foreign trips to Canada, but visits from American residents have fallen by 52.2 per cent over the last decade.

While 42.9 million trips were made in 2001 this fell to 20.5 million in 2009 - a low not seen since the 1970s, according to the TIAC.

A recent change requiring reciprocal visitors between the two nations to present valid passports may also have played a role in the continuing fall in tourism traffic.

Oh, Canada

With the value of the domestic currency increasing, Canadian visitors are also being encouraged to international holidays – to the detriment of the industry at home.