Expect more U.S. visitors to Vancouver as Canada’s dollar falters: report

The Conference Board of Canada expects a strong year ahead for tourism in Canada

Bad news for Alberta’s oil industry may very well be good news for Vancouver’s tourism industry. A weak Canadian dollar—thanks in part to sinking oil prices, as OPEC nations continue to outproduce dwindling worldwide demand—is one of the reasons the Conference Board of Canada expects more American tourists to come knocking, and presumably shopping, in 2015.

At 1.2 per cent nationwide, 2014’s increase in American visitors was modest overall (at 2.8 per cent, Vancouver fared above average). But, the autumn report says, “our medium-term outlook for overnight travel from the U.S. is considerably more optimistic.” An improving U.S. economy combined with a boost in Americans’ cross-border spending power should spur an increase in visits from the south.

Overall growth in Canadian tourism, measured by overnight stays, is forecast to be up 1.9 per cent in 2014 and 2.7 per cent in 2015. But for U.S travellers, the gain will nearly triple, from 1.3 per cent this year to 3.5 per cent next.

Vancouver, where tourism grew by an impressive 4.1 per cent this year, will see a still-good 3.5 per cent gain in 2015. “Growth in overseas arrivals will moderate” in Vancouver, the report says, but “growth from the U.S. will increase with a strengthening U.S. economy and a weaker dollar.”

Stronger economic growth and consumer confidence along with an increase in domestic flight availability were also cited as reasons for the general uptick in Canadian tourism.