U.S. tourist trips to Canada hit 7-year high in June

The cheap Canadian dollar compelled Americans to take almost two million trips to Canada in June, the highest level since passport requirements came into effect seven years ago.

Canadian dollar averaged around 80 cents US during the month

The Canadian dollar averaged 80 cents US in June, which may have helped compel a record number of Americans to visit Canada during the month. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The cheap Canadian dollar compelled Americans to take almost two million trips to Canada in June, the highest level since passport requirements came into effect seven years ago.

Statistics Canada reported Wednesday that U.S. residents made 1.9 million trips to Canada in June, a rise of 3.3 per cent from May.

"This was the highest level in over seven years," the data agency said. In 2008, the U.S. passed a law requiring all Americans to have a valid passport or other travel-related documents to leave the country. 

Much of June's tourist increase came in the form of road trips, as Americans took 7.7 per cent more overnight car trips to Canada and 5.5 per cent more same-day car trips.

The loonie hovered around the 80-cent US level for much of the month, giving Americans more purchasing power for their U.S. dollars.

The tourist trend is likely to continue, as the Canadian dollar has since plunged to as low as 76 cents US, but travel data for July and August — big tourism months on their own — aren't yet available.

The volume of Canadian visits from places other than the U.S actually declined to 458,000 trips to Canada in June, down one per cent from May's level.

Canadians also stayed home during the month, with the data agency reporting that travel from Canada to the United States fell 1.3 per cent to 3.8 million trips.

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