Changing value and shifting trend

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The party can’t last forever. But when it winds down you can change locations in many cases.

While the Canadian dollar was riding high – at various times over the past decade – we saw a beaten path to the American border as travellers and shoppers headed to where their money was stretching further than ever before.

That could wear off with the change in value. The Canadian dollar saw another 0.27 of a cent shaved off Wednesday, leaving it at 92.56 cents compared to its U.S. counterpart. That’s the lowest it’s been since October 2009.

The shock won’t necessarily register overnight. David McCaig, president of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, said in an article from The Canadian Press that so far Canadian bookings down south haven’t suffered. But he acknowledges that could change if the downward trend continues.

Let’s face it, there are always winners and losers in such changes. Canadian retailers and tourist operators will be crossing their fingers hoping the action comes their way – or make that, stays closer to home.

As in the past when the loonie was flying a bit low, the “staycation” came into vogue, and McCaig suggests that could easily happen again. And as much as a strong Canadian dollar is a piece of psychologically good news, times when it’s lower has benefits for exports and the prospect of luring visitors here.

Here in the Maritimes we’ve heard stories over the years how the numbers of tourists from the U.S. have fallen off – and it wasn’t just the bad roads and higher gas prices. Their greenback just wasn’t stretching as far as it used to.

It’s an opportune time for the provincial tourism agencies to get the advertising campaigns going, to show what the region has to offer, along with the emphasis that there are bargains to be had.

And by the way, if there is any budgetary slack at all, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the transportation departments to fix some roads to favourite tourist destinations.

Organizations: Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, Canadian Press

Geographic location: U.S.

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