The number of Americans entering Canada rose year-to-date by 2.2 per cent in June 2019 to reach a rate not seen since June 2007. (Black Press File)

TOURISM

Americans visiting Canada on the rise this year, likely due to strong U.S. dollar

Strong American dollar credited for increase, but non-American visitors staying away

Visitors to Canada from the United States reached their highest rate since 2007, with B.C. among the benefactors of this influx, according to new figures from Statistics Canada.

Year-to-date, the number of visitors from the United States was up 2.2 per cent in the first six months of 2019.

One likely reason for the rise is the weak Canadian dollar, which grants American visitors greater purchasing power.

“The year-over-year decline in travel from Canada to the United States coincided with an increase in the value of the U.S. dollar,” Statistics Canada said in its analysis. “The value of the U.S. dollar, a factor known to influence cross-border travel, rose from CAN $1.31 year over year to CAN $1.33 in June 2019.”

Looking at specific provinces, B.C. recorded an 11.3 per cent increase in arrivals from the United States by plane in June 2019, the biggest in Canada.

RELATED: Greater Victoria sees a drop in tourism numbers

By comparison, the number of Canadians crossing the border dropped almost three per cent in June 2019 compared to the same period last year.

But if Americans are trying to take advantage of their stronger dollar, other foreigners are staying away from Canada, as the number of travellers from overseas countries has been declining.

Compared to May 2019, overall travel numbers were down 2.5 per cent, with travel from Asia down 4.9 per cent thanks to large drops in visitors from Japan (down 10.4 per cent), South Korea (down 8.1 per cent) and India (down 6.5 per cent). Travel from Europe also dropped, as a higher number of French and German travels failed to compensate for a decline in visitors from the United Kingdom, Canada’s largest source market for overseas travellers.

Looking the other way, the number of Canadians travelling overseas (6.9 million), year to date, was up 3.3 in June 2019.


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