Canada's dollar trading low against its U.S. counterpart and economy at
new historic lows, many Canadians are wondering whether they
can afford a warm weather getaway this year. Certainly the weak dollar
and problems with economy encouraged many to stay home last
Statistics Canada, Canadian visits
to the United States fell by 14 per cent in the first quarter of this
and 10.2 per cent in the second quarter, compared with the same periods
Canadians are enthusiastic world travelers
and many of them are finding new ways to escape without breaking the
Some travel agencies are offering special deals, such as early booking
discounts, specifically aimed at consumers worried about the dollar and
are biting and some companies are even reporting sharp increases in
to destinations such as the Caribbean.
snowbirds will do anything to keep going
south. When the snow falls, it's like people's feet start to itch, and
they must going south - they're addicted. It's like a national fever.
snowbirds, however, are deeply concerned about their finances, because
their average annual income is only $22,000 to $24,000.
survey revealed that only about three
to 5% intend to stay put, 3/4 have no intention of changing their plans
to stay the average of four to six months, 12% are going for shorter
- and 9% intend to earned their stay in the United States this year.
year they are particularly sensitive to basic costs, such as food, fuel
and accommodation. Many are already trying to protect themselves from
Only medical plan, compared with a last year's
prices, is much higher than last year.
U.S. retailers can expect more belt
tightening from the Canadians. Many say that they plan to eat at home
often, travel less within the United States, and limit spedal
like golf and theme park visit. Anticipating the slowdown, some smart
U.S. business are already offering Canadians a deal and cheaper prices
for tickets and programs bought in advance.
vacationers, are avoiding the United
States in much greater numbers, although they do not appear to be
up their annual dose of sun. Sun-spot bookings are up by an estimated
to 30 per cent this year, especially for less expensive places like
Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The number of customers heading to
U.S. destinations is down, partly because of the slowdown in the
Unlike other Canadians with only a few
a holiday, snowbirds are less likely to turn their backs on the United
States because of currency fluctuations or economic conditions. They
have close ties, such as real estate (75% of Canadian Snowbird
members own property in the United States) or well established routines
in particular communities that keep them going back in bad times as