Fredericton Tourism is anticipating another big year despite many people having concerns over the price of the loonie.
Last year over $241 million in revenue was brought in, a 3.7 per cent increase from 2014, and the fourth consecutive year to see the numbers go up.
“I think the main driver of what’s changing in the tourism sector this year is the exchange rate,” said Dave Seabrook, Fredericton Tourism Manager. “I think it’s going to be very good for tourism in Atlantic Canada and certainly tourism in Fredericton. We’re going to see a lot more Atlantic Canadian visitors staying at home, more visitors from Ontario and Quebec staying at home, less cross border traffic.”
Not only do local tourism officials think more Canadians will choose to stay within our borders this summer, but the U.S. dollar going up could attract our neighbours to the south as well.
“Hopefully we’ll pick up some American business that’s aware of the opportunity of the american dollar and the discount they get,” he said. “I think that’s going to be a good sign for the industry this year.”
Adam Clawson, Owner of local Fredericton brewing company Red Rover Cider agrees.
“We’re really excited about that specifically because it means that the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies coming in are going to go a little bit further,” said Clawson. “So hopefully they’re going to spend a little bit more in the community.”
Clawson says they began their pitch to entice Americans to our neck of the woods some time ago and hope it pays dividends this summer.
“We’re working on the social media aspect to show that they can get more gifts, do more shopping in the downtown sector for the same amount that they would do at home they would get more.”
However one downside to the low loonie is the lessened ability to recruit musicians to perform.
Two mainstay festivals recently announced they wouldn’t return this year. Seabrook says higher prices for acts is unfortunately taking the festival scene on a downturn.
“I know the festival sector its very, very tough this year,” he says. “It’s tough to bring American acts, there’s more demand for Canadian acts, so the prices are up.”
Still they remain optimistic that they’ll post another strong performance in 2016.
“The dollar doesn’t move that fast, where it sits now even if it gains a few cents we’re still going to see that benefit this summer in Atlantic Canada.”