BUSINESS

Plummeting Loonie Bad News For U.S. Border States

07/12/2015 12:19 EDT | Updated 07/13/2016 05:59 EDT
OGUNQUIT, Maine - The Canadian economy is in decline and Maine's tourism industry is feeling the pinch.

The Portland Press Herald reports the state estimates that about 4 million Canadian tourists will visit Maine this year — a dramatic drop from 5.5 million in 2013.

Canadians' buying power in the U.S. is down from what it was then. The Canadian dollar coin or "loonie" — once equal to the U.S. dollar — is now worth 78 cents.

Sarah Diment, owner of the Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit, said she's still trying to fill a vacancy left by a Canadian who cancelled. She said the plummeting value of the Canadian dollar was given as the reason for the cancellation

"It's definitely had an impact," she said of the exchange rate.

Maine tourism officials say that in 2014, 22 per cent of the state's visitors came from Massachusetts. Tied at second place were New York and Canada at 16 per cent.

Greg Dugal, executive director of the Maine Innkeepers Association, tells the newspaper that business started slower this year than anticipated and there are noticeably fewer Canadians.

During the Great Recession, when many Americans cancelled their, Canadians continued to visit and spend money in Maine.

"In 2009 they saved us," Dugal said. "It's almost like the opposite is occurring this year."

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