The Globe and Mail is reporting that tourist visits to Canada, particularly Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver have dropped significantly this year. Fuel prices, a high Canadian dollar and a slowing global economy are all being blamed for this downturn:
The latest Statistics Canada numbers on travellers are from May 2008 and show that in the first five months of the year, nearly one million fewer visitors entered the country compared to 2007, a decline of more than 10 per cent.
In May alone, nearly 200,000 fewer tourists entered the country compared to the same month in 2007, a drop of seven per cent.
By contrast, more Canadians are choosing a vacation abroad.
Between January and May, nearly 2.5 million more Canadians left the country than did during the same period in 2007, a jump of almost 13 per cent.
A strong dollar means more Canadians leaving, and not enough tourists — mainly Americans — are arriving, said Mr. Klassen.
“Our travel deficit is ballooning,” he said. “It’s a huge concern.”
If fewer people are coming to visit Canada, does that mean fewer foreign buyers for our real estate markets, particularly the most expensive ones?