01/22/2015 05:10 EST | Updated 03/24/2015 05:59 EDT

Americans Are Coming -- Thanks To The Dollar

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You don't need to be an economist to understand what's going on with Canada's currency. Our dollar is under pressure and this isn't great news -- unless you're exporting goods from Canada. It just so happens that tourism is an export business.

International visitors are one group that will benefit from the currency exchange. At present, one US dollar is worth $1.21 Canadian. With the dollar being lower than it has been in years, many travellers from abroad will no doubt view Canada as a place where they can stretch their money further and get more out of their vacation than they might in other destinations.

While a low loonie should entice more people to visit our country, Canadians thinking of travelling outside of our borders may rethink that trip in 2015 and keep their dollars at home. That's bad news if your kids are eager to get to Disneyland this year. But it's welcome news for tourism boards across the country, which can expect more domestic travellers and a long-needed increase in American visitors, who will take advantage of both the deflated loonie and exceptionally low gas prices.

Americans Bring the Most Tourist Dollars to Canada

Canada's greatest tourism partner -- without question -- is the United States. According to the Canadian Tourism Commission, Canada welcomes approximately 10 million overnight visitors from the United States each year. In recent times, no other country has contributed more than 1 million travellers. Tourism is an $82-billion industry in Canada that directly employs 603,400 workers and supports another 1 million jobs, according to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. That's 9.2 per cent of all jobs in the country. Anything that can boost the industry is viewed as a pleasant change after a flurry of events since the start of the century caused headwinds.

Gabor Forgacs, associate professor at the Ted Rogers School of Tourism and Hospitality, explained that Canada lost half of US visitors because of a much higher dollar and new passport requirements that were introduced in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Canada also had to withstand the negative news around the SARS crisis in 2003-04 and, like just about every other country, was adversely impacted by the global economic recession from 2008-12.

Story by Rod Charles, Deputy Editor. To read the full story on, click here.


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