Yukon businesses feel good and bad about low Canadian dollar

The low Canadian dollar is already having an impact on Yukon businesses, but some retailers say consumers will really feel the sting later this year.

'There's going to be increases, guaranteed,' says Whitehorse appliance retailer

Dennis O'Brien, who operates Marlin Travel in Whitehorse, said the low Canadian dollar is having an impact on Yukoners' travel plans. 'They’re looking closer at how much they’re actually going to have to spend. They’re looking for the cheap destination.' (CBC)

If the low Canadian dollar has you leaving your sandals and shorts in the closet this winter, consider this — that longed-for winter getaway could be even more expensive next year.

According Dennis O'Brien, who operates Marlin Travel in Whitehorse, that's because tour package companies often set their prices months in advance. Today's low dollar mean tomorrow's sting for Canadian travellers.

"I think prices are up this year, but I think it's really going to be noticeable in six months' or a year's time," O'Brien said.

"The negotiations that are going on now are the ones that are really going to show up next fall, next winter."

The Canadian dollar this week hit 71 cents U.S., the lowest exchange rate for the loonie since 2003. O'Brien said he's already seeing an impact, with fewer Yukoners looking to book trips to the U.S.

"I haven't had many requests in the last month or so for Vegas. Usually this time of year, you're getting requests for Vegas," O'Brien said.

Other retailers are also warning that consumers have yet to see the real impact of today's soft loonie.
'There’s going to be increases if the dollar stays where it's at or dips lower,' said Whitehorse appliance retailer Mike Pemberton. (CBC)

Mike Pemberton, who manages Ashley Furniture in Whitehorse, said sticker prices are negotiated and set months ahead of time, so they don't necessarily reflect the current exchange rate. According to Pemberton, Canadian consumers will likely see those sticker prices go up later this year.

"There's going to be increases, guaranteed," he said. "To me as a retailer, it's always better to buy now!"

Good for visitors

Not all businesses are worried about the low dollar, in fact, some Northern tour operators welcome it. They're anticipating that 2016 could be a busy year, as foreign visitors decide to get more bang for their buck in Canada.
'The low Canadian dollar will make Yukon and Canada more attractive,' said Yukon's director of tourism Pierre Germain. (CBC)

"Things like low fuel prices and exchange rates we think will have an impact on people's visitation as they look forward to coming here in 2016," said Yukon's tourism director Pierre Germain. 

"The low Canadian dollar will make Yukon and Canada more attractive."

Some Yukon tour operators say they're already seeing a positive effect, with more foreign visitors coming through most of the year, not just in summer.




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