How a Will Weak Canadian Dollar Impact Visits to the Backcountry?

“With the dollar plummeting to a 10-year low against its U.S. counterpart this past (month), the underlying positive trend in tourism will only strengthen.”

Can the lowering of the local dollar actually be an opportunity for local tourism?

While the drop in the dollar has sent alarm bells across many industries in this country, one could make the argument that it’s been a positive, at the very least an opportunity, thus far for tourism in British Columbia.

As the dollar drops, international visitors are fiscally encouraged to visit this wonderland we call home. And with less than ideal exchange rates awaiting Canadians traveling abroad, many may see this as a great chance to visit the beautiful playground within their own country. All indications point to opportunities within the local tourism industry and into the BC backcountry.

BLBCA_Blog_ImpactonTourismTourism has seen growth in the province’s largest city so far in 2015. Dayna Miller with Tourism Vancouver says visitor
numbers for the first five months of the year show a jump in tourists and although summer stats aren’t yet available, she expects this to be “the best year in tourism to date.”

“If it continues to be as strong as it has been the last few months, I think throughout the year we anticipate it will be a record year and we should exceed 9 million visitors. What we’re focusing on are probably 9.2 million visitors.”

Visits to the province from international travelers, particularly from the US, have increased in recent months, and there hasn’t been any indication the trend won’t continue.

International tourist visits to BC climbed again (this past) May, marking a fifth gain in six months.Total visits reached a seasonally adjusted 407,750 persons, up 1.7% from April and 7.2% above same-month 2014. Notwithstanding the 2010 Winter Olympics period, this was the highest level observed since 2007.”

It seems as the dollar continue to reach newer lows, the more visits from international guest’s increases.

“A favourable exchange rate has given US travellers and the mighty greenback 20% more buying power north of the border in the past year. This, along with strengthening economic growth and labour markets, is driving powerful momentum in travel to BC. Visits from the US were up 8% year-over-year in May and 9% through the first five months.”

Another potential positive for the local tourism industry in recent months has been the number of Canadian’s deciding to travel within their native boarders given the economic climate.

Now we’re seeing people saying, ‘you know what? It’s better for us to stay here. Instead of going to the US, Canadians are searching for destinations where their dollar will stretch farther. They’re also seeking ticket and tour bookings in Canadian dollars.”

According to a recent survey by Insights West, indications are that BC residents are deciding to stay within the province this year.

Blog_Love Affair _ Burnie Glacier Chalet_Skiing“Seventy-five per cent of British Columbian leisure travellers plan to take a trip within the province during the next year because of the low Canadian dollar.”

Where those travelers spend their time is still to be seen. Will this be the year they take that trip they’ve always talked about? As people leave behind the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives, what will they be in search of? Relaxation, fun, adventures?

Although all early indications are positive, it’s still too early to know how much of an impact this has on the BC backcountry. Like annual snow conditions, only time will tell. But at the very least it can be viewed as an interesting opportunity.

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