Canadian visits to U.S. drop
A wide variety of new international flights are encouraging more tourists to visit Canada and more Canadians to travel abroad, with one notable exception: the United States.
According to Statistics Canada, the number of Canadians travelling to the U.S. decreased for the third consecutive year in 2016, down 7.7 per cent from the previous year. This appears to be the result of the weaker Canadian dollar, which is trading around US$0.76.
“You’ve got three reasons for this,” said Gordon Orr, chief executive officer of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island. “First you’ve got the U.S. election going on, you’ve got the economy which is better and stronger on the Canadian side, and at the end of the day the U.S. dollar. The Canadian dollar doesn’t have the power that it once did, so the United States becomes less attractive,”.
According to TWEPI, the number of U.S. citizens coming to Canada through the Detroit tunnel has actually increased by 4 per cent in 2015 to 2016.
Another reason for less Canadians visiting the U.S. is because southern Ontario’s school boards have cancelled all U.S. trips due to concerns of safety and equity.
“They used to do field trips to Henry Ford and other places in Detroit, but because of the proposed travel ban they decided not to do it,” said Orr. “They don’t want students to be turned away.”
One Windsor woman, Joy Louangrath, has been a frequent visitor to the U.S. She has recently been more cautious about crossing the border.
“I used to go to the U.S. every weekend, but now I don’t like going,” said Louangrath. “I get harassed and I get asked a lot of unnecessary questions at the border about my background and my past record.”
According to Statistics Canada, the trend is opposite for U.S. visitors to Canada, which has risen by 8.3 per cent in 2016 and 8.4 per cent in 2015.
“You’re always going to choose to go to a destination where you feel comfortable,” said Orr. “There is nothing like travelling in Canada for its safe, comfortable and welcoming environment.” said Orr.
Overall visitors to Canada from abroad has increased by 9.4 per cent last year to 30.1 million, the highest number and the largest increase since the 2008-09 recession.