|Are you a cross border shopper that is rejoicing at the beefed up loonie? Well, you are not alone. Canadians are traveling south of the border in droves to scoop up bargains on everything from clothing to cars. Every day there are news reports of record breaking lines at the border crossings. But even that is not a deterrent for motivated Canadians.|
Our loonie is finally worth something and we’re going to do everything that we can to take advantage of its buying power. Unfortunately, the very thing that keeps you chanting, “Go Loonie Go”, is spelling disaster for Toronto hotels.
The strong loonie is creating terrible problems for the tourism industry. As a result Toronto hotels are seeing greater losses in American tourists than the SARS epidemic caused. The weak dollar impelled the Americans to come to Canada and get a great bang for their buck. The weaker the Canadian dollar the higher the occupancy was in Toronto hotels. Now the strong loonie coupled with a weak American economy, high gas prices, and long border line-ups has kept Americans at home instead of coming to Toronto to shop, see theatre, wine and dine, and stay in our hotels. The migration of tourists has shifted. Instead of traveling north, we are now traveling south.
Part of the problem is us. As Canadians we have always been very weak at promoting ourselves. With a very weak dollar we became complacent, because that alone was enough to drive tourism here. We never waxed poetic about our fabulous theatres, incomparable wine country, magnificent restaurants, and amazing attractions – everything that makes a great city great. Let’s start getting our message out there and let’s start filling up the Toronto hotels again.