The down dollar isn’t bad news for everyone; the local tourism industry thinks it will attract more visitors to BC.
It’s also raising hopes among those in the hospitality sector who believe 2015 will be a banner year.
“A falling dollar represents better value for consumers coming here, so it’s good for tourism,” said Tourism Vancouver vice-president Stephen Pearce. “But we have to be cautious of a tipping point. Tourism can be very fragile and if people begin to feel insecure about the economy and we start to move into a recessionary environment, then people may be reluctant to travel.”
The number of overnight visitors to Metro Vancouver rose to a record 8.94 million last year and is projected to increase by another 2.9 per cent this year, to 9.2 million.
But the dollar’s decline will also make it more expensive for Canadians flying south to warmer climes. Pearce said the drop should encourage more Canadians to travel within their own country this year.
While the number of visitors to B.C. from China, India and Mexico showed the strongest growth rates last year, the U.S. still accounts for the lion’s share of total international visits to the province. But American tourists aren’t always aware of exchange-rate fluctuations that can work to their advantage.
“People from border states are very aware of the exchange-rate difference but when you go further south, many people just don’t know about it,” Pearce said. “Generally those travellers look at us in terms of the experience we can provide and how unique that experience is.”