With the loonie falling at an alarming rate (78 cents to the US dollar at time of writing), plus record low gas prices, Canadian tourism operators ought to see a strong rise in business this year.
Not only will the high US dollar be encouraging Canadian travellers to stay in-country, but suddenly US travellers have 20% more buying power in their pockets, making Canada much better value as a travel destination.
Statistics Canada has shown a clear correlation between the exchange rate and the number of visitors to Canada from the United States, and this effect is already being seen: the latest Canadian Border Services Agency statistics show the number of Americans crossing into BC last month was significantly higher than in previous years.
The expectation is that lower gas prices will encourage Canadians to make more domestic car trips, and as they happen to be Canada’s largest tourism source, tourism operators should be anticipating stronger demand in 2015 than seen in previous years.
The challenge for the Canadian tourism industry is to effectively spread the word to US consumers. While Americans living in border-states are generally aware of the exchange rate, people further south are less aware of these fluctuations and how they can work to their advantage. In fact, savvy business such as Whistler Blackcomb have already developed marketing initiatives for San Francisco and Los Angeles to take advantage of the stronger American dollar.
Along with key messaging around the uniqueness of the experiences they provide, the tourism industry needs to emphasise the fact that Canada is on sale this year.