Low loonie a boost for outfitters in Newfoundland and Labrador

Outfitters in Newfoundland and Labrador say the dollars spent by American hunters this year are worth more because of the low loonie, and that's good for their business.
Outfitters like Trevor Pilgrim from Roddickton rely on hunters from the United States and Europe. (Submitted photo)

Outfitters in Newfoundland and Labrador say the dollars spent by American hunters this year are worth more because of the low loonie, and that's good for their business.

"It's a huge plus," said Barbara Genge of Tuckamore Lodge in Main Brook.

"If you take American money to the bank you get 38 per cent, and now it's 40 per cent — that's a good investment."

Genge said last year was difficult because the province increased moose hunting fees for out-of-province hunters after bookings had been made.  

Outfitters, who market a year ahead, had to swallow the cost.

"This year now, we'll make up for that," said Genge.

Barb Genge is with Tuckamore Lodge in Main Brook. (CBC)

Hunters don't see the benefit because they're paying in American dollars, but outfitters do, and they were talking about it at their annual conference in Corner Brook Wednesday.

"Because if you want to do something extra in your company, now you got extra dollars to do it," said Genge.

Maintenance and buying new equipment are her priorities, although she won't go too far.

"You watch what you're at. You got to, because you never know what's going to happen in the marketplace."

Americans don't know

​Colin McKeown brings a different perspective to the conference.

He has a television show in the United States called The New Fly Fisher

"We come every year and so, usually starting in June through to September, [and] we'll do two to three shows. One year we did seven. We profile different outfitters and of course they get the benefit of getting that high-profile exposure," said McKeown.

"Americans don't realize how strong their dollar is right now in relation to the Canadian dollar. They haven't grasped it yet," he said.

"I think they will after they've had this summer and they've booked their trips here, but right now, they don't know."

Promoters say American tourists come to the province for a wilderness experience.

Americans are attracted to the province, he said.

"It's not just the number of fish or the size of the moose. It's also the wilderness experience. Now with the dollar, this is becoming much more attractive."

McKeown said there has been an increase in the number of American tourists over the past couple of years, as the U.S. economy improved.

He predicted that more will come as word about the currency exchange sinks in over the next year.

"It'll probably have a bigger push in terms of the number of people who are kind of like on the edge looking to come to Canada, and all of a sudden this is the little shove they needed to go over the side."

The downside is the rising cost of materials that outfitters purchase from the United States, and the trade shows they attend there.

"And as somebody who just booked hotels down in the States and doing travel down there, it's exceedingly expensive now with the dollar," said McKeown.

With files from Colleen Connors


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